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News of the Weird



Lead Story

Edward Teller, 82, "father" of the hydrogen bomb, told a Rotary Club meeting in Oakland, California, recently that nuclear bombs might help prevent massive hurricanes such as Hugo (which killed 57 people in 1989). Detonating a bomb in the atmosphere might alter temperatures so that several storms, rather than one big one, are created.

The Litigious Society

Ocie McClure, 24, serving eight years for a 1989 street robbery in San Francisco, filed a $5 million lawsuit recently against the cab driver who apprehended him. The driver pinned McClure against a wall with the taxi, damaging his leg.

John and Donna Slagg filed a lawsuit in Janesville, Wisconsin, in May against their son Keith, 24, for failure to repay the $13,000 (including 15 percent interest) they loaned him for insurance, car payments, and college tuition.

Dana Jurist won $79.50 in a court in Downington, Pennsylvania, from Shawn Norbeck, who failed to keep their date for the junior prom in May. He said he had a virus, but the truth was he had gotten tickets to see the rock group Rush.

Michael Brennan, a bank president in Saint Paul, Minnesota, filed a $50,000 lawsuit in July against the city and a construction company for a 1989 mishap in his bank's rest room. The construction company had shut off a sewer line without notifying the bank, and when Brennan flushed, he was suddenly washed out with "200 to 300 gallons" of raw sewage. The company offered only to buy him a new suit.

Rabbi Loring J. Frank was sued in Fort Lauderdale in July by two lawyers because he had been 90 minutes late in performing their wedding in 1988. Christine and Russell Adler claim that due to Frank's delay, guests ran up a huge bar bill, Russell's back condition flared up, and guests gossiped about whether the marriage was in trouble. The Adlers sued for $130,000--seven times the cost of the wedding.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

In July, Jerry Conner and Sheila Maria Boyd were arrested in a New York City restaurant, where they had gone to celebrate their wedding, when a customer recognized them as the team that had robbed him and 17 others in a doctor's office the month before.

Darnell Madison, 37, was shot and killed in July in Homewood, Alabama, when he burst into a motel room intending to rob the seven men he had seen with a wad of money. He was unaware they were armed police officers working on another case.

The driver of a van in Miami Beach in August stopped at a red light but held the clutch in, causing the van to roll backward into the bumper of a car. The car's driver became overexcited and flagged down a passing police car, whereupon the van driver excused himself. Police recovered from the van 1,544 pounds of cocaine bricks, worth $14 million.

Danny Coleman, 36, was hospitalized with leg injuries near Peoria, Illinois, in August, after he made a rest stop along I-74 to relieve himself and was knocked out when a tire broke loose from a passing truck and pummeled him against his car.

In August in North Little Rock, Arkansas, 20-year-old Victor Lyons was hit in the foot by a stray bullet from a nearby parking-lot gunfight. He had been hiding in some bushes spying on his girlfriend as she used a pay phone.

In June a replacement bus driver hired by Greyhound during the drivers' strike met the bus he was to drive from Delaware to New York City. However, a passenger on the bus wound up driving to New York because the substitute driver could not drive a stick shift.

During a July baseball brawl between the Seattle Mariners and the Milwaukee Brewers in Seattle, as the fighting players spilled from the field toward the stands, two elderly women in the front row used miniature giveaway souvenir bats to take swipes at Milwaukee players.

Rory Johnson, 29, was arrested in May for a liquor store robbery in Elkhart, Indiana. Johnson had parked in the back of the store to facilitate his getaway but had trouble exiting because of congestion due to road construction. Five minutes after the robbery, he was sitting in his car, having moved only a few feet, and liquor store employees pointed him out to police.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.

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