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News of the Weird


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A suspect said to be in his 20s escaped after robbing a First American Bank branch in Nashville in August, but not before leaving some of the money behind during the getaway. The teller had given the man a bag of "bait" money containing an explosive device that would coat the money with a dye soon after he left the bank. Apparently the man wanted to free his hands during the getaway and so stuffed the bag into his sweatpants. Said a Nashville detective, "We believe he may have [dropped the money when he] suffered severe burns to his groin area."

Cavalcade of Ironies

The annual Wisconsin hunting-season accident report issued in August included accounts of a boy who shot himself in the hand when he used his rifle as a crutch to get up off the ground; a man who shot himself in the foot trying to hit a squirrel who was running nearby; and a man who was shot when the gun he dropped from a tree discharged upon hitting the ground.

Fugitive Mary Annette Cole, 33, wanted by police in connection with a robbery, was arrested in a Tulsa movie theater in August while watching The Fugitive.

A court in Trenton, New Jersey, ruled in June that James Huckfeldt would have to pay for the legal defense of his two teenage sons because the family is too well-off for public defenders. Huckfeldt's sons are charged with trying to hire a hit man to kill him.

In April police in Chandler, Arizona, arrested Arturo Ortiz, 33, after he allegedly broke into a home and began fondling a woman as she slept. The woman, who weighs 260 pounds, subdued Ortiz by twisting his arm behind his back and holding him until police arrived. Said the woman, "I'm large, and he happens to be small."

In January near Alvin, Texas, Andrea Guerero, 18, and her brother came across a man who was slumped over the steering wheel of his truck and not breathing. She administered CPR until an ambulance arrived to take the man to a hospital, where he recovered. Guerero was on her way home from a CPR certification exam, which she had flunked.

Bea Bernkrant and her husband filed a lawsuit in October against the Radisson Suite Hotel in Boca Raton, Florida, accusing the hotel of negligence because the couple's personal towels, which they had brought to the hotel, had been stolen from their room.

A 60-year-old slaughterhouse worker was decapitated in Stockton, California, in June in an accident involving the machine that strips the hide off cows.

In a December 1992 issue of the British Medical Journal two doctors reported on the case of a teenager who had come down with a severe bacterial infection after he was hospitalized with injuries from a fall from an apartment building. The doctors traced the infection to holy water sprinkled on him by his aunt, who was trying to help him survive the injuries.

Cliches Come to Life

According to a U.S. Department of Energy memo cited by the Denver Post in December, the number of workers it takes to change a light bulb on a certain safety system at the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant is 43 (or 1,087.1 man-hours).

The New York Times reported in April that Kansas lawyers Michael Harris and Fletcher Bell were awarded workers' compensation for back injuries suffered at work: Harris got close to $35,000 for the strain of reaching into the backseat of his car for his briefcase, and Bell got $95,000 for an injury sustained when he lifted his briefcase out of the trunk of his car.

In August police in Berkeley, California, investigating a robbery were given the license plate number of the getaway car, which turned out to be a rental. They staked out the rental-car agency, and the next day the robbers were arrested when they returned the car to collect their deposit.

The Weirdo-American Community

During a nationally televised August preseason game Denver Broncos defensive tackle Darren Drozdov, who was in his stance opposite the offensive center awaiting the snap, vomited on the ball. Afterward he told reporters, "I get sick a lot. I was a quarterback in high school, and I'd start throwing up on my center's back. I don't have a lot of control out there."

I Don't Think So

In August the California Department of Motor Vehicles attempted to take away Randy Braverman's vanity plate, but he defended it, saying that "UKFA UYA" is not pig latin but rather is an acronym for Unified Kids for a United Young America.

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

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