Pokemon Go is said to have caused a massive car accident, but it seems the news report was a complete fabrication.
So the story goes, 26-year-old Lamar Hickson was driving along an unnamed highway in Massachusetts of the US when a wild Pikachu appeared. Hickson allegedly decided it would be a good idea to stop to catch him, causing one of the worst highway accidents in history.
That’s according to a report by the Cartel Press website, which had a quote from Hickson: “Sh*t if you wanna catch them all you gotta risk it all so I put my car in park and started tossing these balls.”
The report claims Hickson admitted to police he had been playing Pokémon Go at the time of the incident. The Cartel Press went as far to say it had ‘interviewed’ officer Fredrick Jones.
“Texting and driving was already a very serious issue,” the officer explained, “but now playing Pokémon Go and driving could make things worse,” adding that he expected incidents to double or triple because of the game.
Given that Pokémon Go involves exploring your local area and tapping on screen when a wild Pokémon appears, some sort of car-related incident is inevitable – although the game is said to be clever enough to know when you are driving and limits progress for certain aspects of the game.
But the report has since been debunked as totally fake, with its sole purpose seemingly to strum up clicks without any actual cold, hard facts to back it up.
For starters, the photo used in the story is from a pile-up that took place in Denver in 2014 so unless Hickson went back in time with Pokémon Go, we are already off to a rocky start.
Then there’s the fact Officer Jones doesn’t exist, at least not one who said that quote and attended the fake crash, and it only takes five seconds of looking at other Cartel Press headlines to know it is basically as satirical as the Onion, only without being funny. Our favourite is: “ISIS is taking responsibility for Pokémon Go‘s login problems; server issues.”
Although this story is fake, there was a case of thieves using the game to lure players in before mugging them and one budding Pokémon trainer ended up finding a dead body so there’s definitely a somewhat dark side to the location-based game. At least it gets people exercising, hey.
Pokémon Go is only officially available in Japan, New Zealand and Australia. But it is possible to download and install the game on Android and iOS in the UK right now. Read our guide to installing Pokémon Go here and check out some tips and tricks.