The 2004 Darwin Award

Andre Kesteloot andre.kesteloot at
Thu Dec 30 21:57:47 CST 2004

2004 Darwin Award
Awarded to those who remove themselves from the gene pool.

Here are the much anticipated 2004 nominees! Natural Selection at 
work... Hard to believe, but another year has passed. Once again, it's 
time for the Darwin Award Nominees. The Darwin's are awarded every year 
to the persons who died in the most stupid manner, thereby removing 
themselves from the gene pool.

This year's nine nominees are:

Nominee No. 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 No. 2: [Kalamazoo Gazette]:

James Burns, 34, (a mechanic) of Alamo, MI, was killed in March as he 
was trying to repair what police describe 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 in the drive shaft."

Nominee No. 3: [Hickory Daily Record]:

Ken Charles Barger, 47, accidentally shot himself to death in December 
in Newton, NC. 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 No. 4: [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 TorontoDominionBankTower early Friday evening as he 
was explaining the strength of the building's windows to visiting law 
students. Hoy previously has conducted demonstrations of window strength 
according to police reports. Peter Lawson, managing partner of the firm 
Holden Day, told the Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy was "one of the best 
and brightest" members of the 200-man association. (Nice to see another 
Canadian province getting into the awards.... The Maritimes always have 
been heavily involved.)

Nominee No. 5: [Bloomberg News Service]:

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 emissions. There was no 
mark on his body, and an 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 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 nearly airtight bedroom. According to the article, "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 No. 6: [The News of the Weird]:

Michael Anderson Godwin made News of the Weird posthumously. He had 
spent several years awaiting South Carolina's electric chair on a murder 
conviction ! before having his sentence reduced to life in prison. While 
sitting on a metal toilet in his cell attempting to fix his small TV 
set, he bit into a wire and was electrocuted.

Nominee No. 7: [The Indianapolis Star]:

A cigarette lighter may have triggered a fatal explosion in Dunkirk, IN. 
A JayCounty man, using a cigarette lighter to check the barrel of a 
muzzle loader, 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 at about 11:30 PM Investigators 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 No. 8: [Reuters, Mississauga, Ontario]:

A man cleaning a bird feeder on the balcony of his condominium apartment 
in this Toronto suburb slipped and fell 23 storie! s to his death. 
Stefan Macko, 55, was standing on a wheeled chair when the accident 
occurred, said Inspector D'Arcy Honer of the Peel Regional Police. "It 
appears that the chair moved, and he went over the balcony," Honer said. 
(Another Ontario entry.... I wonder if people are moving there from the 
Maritime Provinces.)

Finally, THE WINNER!!!: [Arkansas Democrat Gazette]:

Two local men were injured when their pickup truck left the road and 
struck a tree near Cotton Patch on State Highway 38 early Monday. 
WoodruffCounty deputy Dovey Snyder reported the accident shortly after 
midnight Monday. Thurston Poole, 33, of Des Arc, and Billy Ray Wallis, 
38, of Little Rock, were returning to Des Arc after a frog gigging trip 
on an overcast Sunday night when Poole's pickup truck headlights 
malfunctioned. The two men concluded that the headlight fuse on the 
older-model truck had burned out. As a replacement fuse was not 
available, Wallis noticed that the .22 caliber bullet from his pistol 
fit perfectly into the fuse box next to the steering-wheel column. Upon 
inserting the bullet the headlights again began to operate properly, and 
the two men proceeded on eastbound toward the White RiverBridge. After 
traveling approximately 20 miles, and just! before crossing the river, 
the bullet apparently overheated, discharged, and struck Poole in the 
testicles. Th e vehicle swerved sharply right, exiting the pavement, and 
striking a tree. Poole suffered only minor cuts and abrasions from the 
accident, but will require extensive surgery to repair the damage to his 
testicles, which will never operate as intended. Wallis sustained a 
broken clavicle and was treated and released. "Thank God we weren't on 
that bridge when Thurston shot his balls off, or we might both be dead," 
stated Wallis. "I've been a trooper for 10 years in this part of the 
world, but this is a first for me. I can't believe that those two would 
admit how this accident happened," said Snyder.

Upon being notified of the wreck, Lavinia (Poole's wife! ) asked how 
many frogs the boys had caught and did anyone get them from the truck???

(Though Poole and Wallis did not die as a result of their misadventure 
as normally required by Darwin Award Official Rules, it can be argued 
that Poole DID, in fact, effectively remove himself from the gene pool.

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