The following e-mail has been floating around ino e-mails since mid-August —
“PRAYERS NEEDED for 12 yr old Avi Ben Stella who, after a serious car crash, is now in a critical coma. Pls. change your status for 1 hr so more people can become aware and add to the prayers. We would do it for your son, pls. do this for somebody else’s son. Thank you.”
Apparently, this story is true – and unfortunately, 12-year-old “Avi Amenov” has passed away.
Here is the story from the New York Post —
” A 12-year-old boy injured in a Queens drag race died yesterday, and the DA was weighing an upgrade in the charges against the drivers — the youngster’s cousins, sources said.
Avi Amenov was in the back seat of a silver BMW racing a Lexus down Francis Lewis Boulevard in Bayside Wednesday night when the BMW clipped the Lexus and spun out of control before crashing into a parked van.
Firefighters had to cut through the car’s roof to get Avi out.
The drivers — who were still charged with vehicular assault and reckless endangerment as of last night — each had a younger cousin in his car.”
The two teens who were drag racing have now been charged with second-degree manslaughter. As for the name change, from “Amenov” to “Ben Stella” – the Examiner reports, “[the word] ‘ben’ is the Hebrew term for ‘child of,’ thus Avi Ben Stella could mean prayers are requested for Avi, the son of Stella. It might also be worth noting that appellation also happens to be the name given to the ‘hoax’ of the moon landing in the 1960s for those who didn’t believe it was real.”
This has turned out to be a sad story. Unfortunately for the 12-year-old Avi Amenov and his family, this was not just an internet hoax. Our thoughts go out to the victim’s family and friends.
From Snopes This prayer request for Avi Ben Stella, a 12-year-old said to have been severely injured in a car accident, began circulating in mid-August 2009. Though the supplication for prayers and good thoughts has since been posted a number of times to Facebook and Twitter, we’ve as yet been unable to locate news stories of other verifying information about any child of that name having been injured.
For what it’s worth, a number of readers have noted that the unusual name “Avi Ben Stella” produces anagrams of “vanilla beset” and “bestial navel.”
The Avi Ben Stella car crash story appears to have finally gone properly viral.
Essentially, people are getting an email, or a Facebook request (and any other of the various forms of social media request) to simply change their status for one hour in order to ask for prayers for Avi Ben Stella, a 12 year old child who is now in a coma after being seriously injured in a car crash.
You can see the current status of this at Snopes, here.
No one is as yet quite sure: is there an Avi Ben Stella, was someone of that name in a car crash? Or is it simply a joke of some kind, although as yet the punchline is undelivered?
My supposition is that this is a joke, a game, of some sort. For one of the terms that has been replicating across the internet is “Avi Ben Stella Snopes”…..and where would you go to try and find out the truth of an online rumor? Yes, Snopes.
But if the search engines are thoroughly polluted with that serach term, you’re most unlikely to find the Snopes entry, are you? You can only get there by using the engine on Snopes’ own site.
So I would write this off as a joke, a game: if anyone knows differently please do contact me in the comments.
Update: As ever, it turns out that commenters know more than journos. It appears that if you keep following the threads you’ll end up at a page trying to load malware. So best just to ignore it all. That’s what we have comments sections for folks!