[Fwd: Darwin Awards]
David V. Rogers
Wed, 06 May 1998 14:43:51 -0400
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Subject: Darwin Awards
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Nominees for the Darwin Award
NOMINEE #1 [San Jose Mercury News] An unidentified man, using a shotgun
like a club to break a former girlfriend's
windshield, accidentally shot himself to death when the gun discharged,
blowing a hole in his gut.
NOMINEE #2 [Kalamazoo Gazette] James Burns, 34, of Alamo, Mich., was
killed in March as he was trying to repair what police described as a
farm-type truck." Burns got a friend to drive the truck on a highway
while Burns hung
underneath so that he could ascertain the source of a troubling noise.
Burns' clothes caught on something, however, and the other man found
Burns "wrapped around the drive shaft."
NOMINEE #3 [Reuters, Mississauga, Ontario] Man slips, falls 23 Stories
to his death. A man cleaning a bird feeder on the balcony of his
condominium apartment in this Toronto suburb slipped and fell 23 stories
to his death, police said Monday. Stefan Macko, 55, was standing on a
wheel-chair Sunday when the accident occurred, said Inspector D'Arcy
Honer of the Peel regional police. "It appears the chair moved and he
went over the balcony," Honer said. "It's one of
those freak accidents. No foul play is suspected."
NOMINEE #4 [Hickory Daily Record] Ken Charles Barger, 47, accidentally
shot himself to death in December in Newton, N.C., when, awakening to
the sound of a ringing telephone beside his bed, he reached for the
phone but grabbed instead a Smith & Wesson .38 Special, which discharged
when he drew it to his ear.
NOMINEE #5 [UPI, Toronto] Police said a lawyer demonstrating the safety
of windows in a downtown Toronto skyscraper crashed through a pane with
his shoulder and plunged 24 floors to his death. A police spokesman said
Garry Hoy, 39,fell into the courtyard of the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower
early Friday evening as he was explaining the strength of the building's
windows to visiting law students. He previously had conducted
demonstrations of window strength according to police reports. Peter
Lauwers, managing partner of the firm Holden Day Wilson, told the
Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy was "one of the best and brightest"
members of the 200-man association.
NOMINEE #6 [AP, Cairo, Egypt] Six people drowned Monday while trying to
rescue a chicken that had fallen into a well in southern Egypt. An
18-year-old farmer was the first to descend into the 60-foot well. He
drowned, apparently after an undercurrent in the water pulled him down,
police said. His sister and two brothers, none of whom could swim well,
went in one by one to help him, but also drowned. Two elderly farmers
then came to help, but they apparently were pulled by the same
undercurrent. The bodies of the six were later pulled out of the well in
the village of Nazlat Imara, 240 miles south of Cairo. The chicken was
also pulled out. It survived.
NOMINEE #7 [Bloomburg News Service, 25 March] A terrible diet and a room
with no ventilation are being blamed for the death of a man who was
killed by his own gas. There was no mark on his body but autopsy showed
large amounts of methane gas in his system. His diet had consisted
primarily of beans and cabbage (and a couple of other things). It was
just the right combination of foods. It appears that the man died in
his sleep from breathing from the poisonous cloud that was hanging over
his bed. Had he been outside or had his windows been opened, it wouldn't
have been fatal. But the man was shut up in his near airtight bedroom.
He was "...a big man with a huge capacity for creating [this deadly]
gas." Three of the rescuers got sick and one was hospitalized.
NOMINEE #9 [San Jose Mercury News] .., in March when his car smashed
into a pole in the median strip of Interstate 95 in the middle of the
afternoon. Police said that the man was traveling at 80 MPH and,
judging by the sales manual that was found open and clutched to his
chest, had been busy reading.
NOMINEE #10 [The News of the weird.] JOINT NOMINEE Michael Anderson
Godwin made News of the Weird posthumously in 1989. He had spent several
years waiting South Carolina's electric chair on a murder conviction
before having his sentence reduced to life in prison. In March 1989,
sitting on a metal toilet in his cell and attempting to fix his small TV
set, he bit into a wire and was electrocuted. On Jan. 1, 1997, Laurence
Baker, also a convicted murderer once on death row, but later serving a
life sentence at the state prison in Pittsburgh, Pa., was electrocuted
by his homemade earphones as he watched his small TV while sitting on
his metal toilet.
NOMINEE #11["The Indianapolis Star"]. Cigarette lighter may have
triggered fatal explosion Dunkirk, Indiana. A Jay County man using a
cigarette lighter to check the barrel of a muzzleloader was killed
Monday night when the weapon discharged in his face, sheriff's
investigators said. Gregory David Pryor, 19, died in his parents' rural
Dunkirk home about 11:30 p.m. Ivestigators said Pryor was cleaning a
.54-caliber muzzleloader that had not been firing properly. He was
using the lighter to look into the barrel when the gunpowder ignited.
NOMINEE #12 [AP, Mammoth Lakes] A San Anselmo man died yesterday when he
hit a lift tower at the Mammoth Mountain ski area while riding down the
slope on a foam pad, authorities said. Matthew David Hubal, 22, was
pronounced dead at Centinela Mammoth Hospital. The accident occurred
about 3 a.m., the Mono County Sheriff's
Department said. Hubal and his friends apparently had hiked up a ski run
called Stump Alley and undid some foam protectors from the lift towers,
said Lieutenant Mike Donnelly of the Mammoth Lakes Police Department.
The pads are used to protect skiers who might hit the towers. The group
apparently used the pads to slide down the ski slope and Hubal crashed
into a tower. It was not clear if the tower he hit was one with its pad
removed. "With the cold temperatures, the snow was probably pretty
fast," said Donnelly.
NOMINEE #13 [Reuters, Warsaw, Poland] A poacher electrocuting fish in a
lake in central Poland fell into the water and suffered the same fate as
his quarry, police said Thursday. The 24-year-old man was one of four
who went fishing with a cable, one end of which they attached to a net
and the other to a high-voltage electricity supply line, the PAP news
agency quoted a police official in Wloclawek a saying. "For a while
everything went according to the poachers' plan and they had fish in
their bags. But at a certain moment the man holding the net tripped and
fell into the water," the agency said. The other poachers tried in vain
to revive him, it said.
NOMINEE #14 [AP, St. Louis] Robert Puelo, 32, was apparently being
disorderly in a St. Louis market. When the clerk threatened to call
police, Puelo grabbed a hot dog, shoved it in his mouth, and walked out
without paying for it. Police found him unconscious in front of the
store: paramedics removed the six-inch wiener from> his throat, where it
had choked him to death.
NOMINEE 15 [Unknown] To poacher Marino Malerba, who shot a stag standing
above him on an overhanging rock and was killed instantly when it fell
NOMINEE 16 [Associated Press, Kincaid, W. VA] Blasting Cap Explodes in
Man's Mouth at Party. A man at a party popped a blasting cap into his
mouth and bit down, triggering an explosion that blew off his lips,
teeth and tongue, state police said Wednesday. Jerry Stromyer, 24, of
Kincaid, bit the blasting cap as a prank during a party late Tuesday
night, said Cpl. M.D. Payne. "Another man had it in an aquarium, hooked
to a battery, and was trying to explode it."
Payne said. "It wouldn't go off and this guy said, "I'll show you how to
set it off." I just can't imagine anyone doing something like that,"
NOMINEE #17 In December near Mineral Wells, Tex., three men who were
attempting to steal copper wire off live electrical lines for resale
were electrocuted. Copper wiring is a valuable scrap metal in Texas but
is usually stolen from electric cables that are not being used.