NewsQuirks 565

Curses, Foiled AgainJoseph Paul Lowery, 23, broke out of the Santa Rosa County, Fla., jail, only to be recaptured the following month in Walker County, Ga., when he flagged down a police officer and asked directions to a known drug-dealing area. "We knew we'd get him sooner or later," Santa Rosa County Sheriff's spokesperson Jim Lyle said. "Thank God they're dumb."Boston authorities reviewing surveillance photos of someone using stolen ATM cards noticed that the suspect remembered to shield his face from the cameras and cover his head with a hooded sweatshirt. But he forgot to remove the hard hat on his head bearing the words "Modern Continental." Suffolk District Attorney Ralph C. Martin II took a surveillance photo to the Modern Continental Construction Co., which identified the suspect as Joseph Carpenito, 45.Mensa Reject of the WeekA 61-year-old German driver traveling through Switzerland on his way to Liechtenstein to deposit more than $247,000 in cash pulled into a rest stop to use the toilet at 4:30 a.m. When he returned to his car, he saw that a man had opened the trunk and taken the travel bag containing the money, then escaped in a small car driven by another person. The victim told police he hadn't bothered to shut the door of his car when he stopped because he didn't see anyone else around.Beauty's in the Ears of the BeholderOrganizers of Canada's Miss Alberta and Miss Teen Alberta pageants showed they were serious about stressing talent over appearance by hiring a blind man to judge the competition. Harold Grace, 51, who was one of seven judges on the panel, said he was able to sense personalities from the way contestants spoke. "I listen to their voices and how they respond to questions," he said. "If they're making it up, or if they're not genuine, I can always tell."Second-Amendment FolliesAfter several teen-age girls got into an argument at a school track meet in Hugo, Okla., Sonya Bostic, 33, the mother of one of the girls, pulled out a gun and fired one shot at Ruthie Pearl, 35, the mother of another girl. According to Police Chief Layton Cox, the bullet missed Pearl but hit another parent, Virginia Biggers, in the buttocks after she turned to flee when she saw the gun.Luis A. "Hector" Soto, 30, was loading groceries into his car in a Berks County, Pa., supermarket parking lot when his 17-month-old son began to run off. According to police, when Soto reached to grab the boy, a 9-mm semiautomatic handgun tucked into a holster inside Soto's pants fired. The bullet went through Soto's left thigh, striking an artery, and he bled to death.Twenty-First Amendment FolliesSam Otero, 30, was being pursued by Los Angeles police who observed him driving erratically at 2 a.m. when he opened the door to throw out a beer can and fell out of the moving car. After being treated for cuts and bruises, Otero was booked on suspicion of drunken driving.Ed O'Rourke, who said he was burned over 60 percent of his body after being shocked by 13,000 volts of electricity when he climbed up a transformer in a "drunken stupor," filed suit in Tampa, Fla., against six bars and stores that he said sold him liquor. O'Rourke claimed he is "unable to control his urge to drink alcoholic beverages" and that the bars and stores negligently served or sold him alcohol despite his "continual consumption." He also named Tampa Electric Co. as a defendant, charging the utility didn't do enough to prevent him from slipping into a fenced, gated and locked substation and scaling the electrical transformer.Animal FarmConvinced his pigs were suffering from a highly contagious disease, a farmer in northeastern Romania began destroying them. He had killed 10 when the vet arrived and told him the pigs were just drunk. The farmer had been feeding the animals waste from a local distillery, and about 100 of them fell into an alcoholic stupor.Denmark passed new laws requiring farmers to provide showers for their hogs, who suffer from body odor in the summer. According to Orla Groen Pedersen of National Pig Production, "Sweaty pigs love being showered in the sticky summer heat."Getting EvenPolice in Bloomington, Ill., charged Christopher Goff, 20, with trying to ram his car into a trampoline where a group of children were playing. Goff reportedly became angry with the youngsters, ages 6 to 12, because they wouldn't let him join them on the trampoline.Twilight ZoneA man returned to his apartment in Kalmar, Sweden, to find his key didn't fit the door lock and his name plate had been changed. When he rang the doorbell, a woman answered and politely informed him that she lived there with her two children. She refused the man entry, so he called the police. She gave them the same story, so they called the landlord. He verified the apartment belonged to the man, and the police evicted the woman and her children.Lesson LearnedWhen Pittsburg, Calif., High School assistant principal Jocelyn Hendrix lost her master key, the school board billed her $17,000. Hendrix admitted she signed a form agreeing to the school board's policy of charging for all costs associated with lost keys but said she figured the worst it could cost her was $75. The school district said it had to replace not just the key, but also all the locks in the school.Odd EndingsSamuel Strickson, 39, was using his feet to stuff more clothes into his top-loading washing machine when he accidentally kicked the on button. Trapped, the Nebraska man died during the spin cycle.Loin Deling, a truck driver from China's Henan province, asked a man to help him back up safely, but the man stuttered and was unable to shout "ting che" ("stop") in time to prevent the driver from running over and killing a small boy.Thai schoolgirls, ages 10 to 12, were on a class outing in Songkhla when their teachers asked them to cover their eyes with their scarves so they could hear the sounds of nature better, then told them to walk towards a large pond. Eight of the girls fell in, but only two could swim. Six drowned.Compiled by Roland Sweet from the nation's press. Send clippings, citing source and date, to P.O. Box 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.

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