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News Quirks


Published October 8, 2008 at 5:22 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again Jason Slagel, 33, was arguing with another man at a motel in Fort Madison, Iowa, when he pulled a knife and told the man and four other people in the room that nobody would be allowed to leave. He eventually released two of the hostages, however, to go buy him beer. Instead, they called the police, who arrested Slagel for false imprisonment.

• British police arrested John Pearce, 32, who was spotted hanging upside-down from the front window of a house in Dartford, Kent. His foot apparently got stuck when he tried to crawl through the window after smashing it. The Daily Mail reported that a crowd of 30 neighbors and passers-by gathered to ridicule him for more than an hour until homeowner Paul Ives arrived home. “His body was inside the house, and he was stuck in the window with his foot outside,” Ives said, noting Pearce was still holding the hammer he had used to smash the window. Pearce insisted he had merely been trying to catch a burglar he spotted raiding the house. He later admitted he was the thief.

Guilty Bystanders When police making a drug raid at a trailer home in Salina, Kan., announced their presence, residents of an adjacent trailer apparently thought it was their home being raided, according to drug task force agents, who saw two people throwing packets of drugs and paraphernalia out of a back window. The agents finished executing their search warrant at the correct trailer and then arrested John M. Coburn, 18, and Darin D. Gordon, 18, at the untargeted trailer.

Slow and Steady Officials at Israel’s Jerusalem Biblical Zoo said that after rescuing a 10-year-old tortoise with paralyzed hind legs who was unable to have sex, the staff devised a custom skateboard that can be strapped to her stomach to improve mobility. Zoo curator Shmulik Yedvad said that since being fitted with the device, the 55-pound spurred tortoise has begun mating.

Railroad Follies Three men attending a conference in Fargo, N.D., went around the security gates at a railroad crossing so one of them could have his picture taken next to a moving train, according to police Sgt. Jeff Skuza. He said the 34-year-old man decided the picture would be even better if he stood closer to the train, but he stumbled, and the train caught his back, ripping his shirt and pants. Explaining the only injury was “a bad case of train rash,” Skuza said alcohol was a factor.

• Brandon Robles, 25, escaped serious injury from a passing freight train that clipped him in Benton, Ill. Robles, who told investigators he saw the train approaching when he stopped near the tracks to light a cigarette, admitted he had been drinking.

• South African authorities reported a freight train ran over a couple having sex on railroad tracks in Mpumalanga Province. The man died at the scene, and the woman died later. The engineer shouted at the couple as he moved the train into the unused station, but they ignored his warnings, according to police official Abie Khoabane, who noted, “They continued with their business.”

Vehicular Justice Mary Davis, 63, tried to stop sheriff’s deputies in Baker County, Fla., from arresting her son by trying to run over one of them with her minivan. Instead, she ran over herself. According to the incident report, one of the deputies was trying to get Davis out of the van when she shifted into reverse and stepped on the gas. The deputy jumped out of the way to avoid being hit by the van’s door, which was still open. When the van slammed into a lawnmower, Davis fell out and under the van. “It just happened too fast,” said the woman, who was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. “When you get angry, upset, that’s just how fast things can happen before you even know it.”

• British authorities investigating a road-rage incident in Gloucestershire reported that Serena Sutton-Smith, 54, became so angry at another motorist that she rammed the stationary vehicle and kept revving her engine and spinning the front wheels until one of her front tires disintegrated and the wheel dug into the road, igniting brake fluid and setting the vehicle on fire. Witness Nicholas Willmore told the inquest he tried to persuade Sutton-Smith to get out of the car, but she was so overcome with anger, she remained inside and burned to death.

Hickey of the Week Australian Wesley Lawrence Creek, 28, pleaded guilty to punching his girlfriend in the face when she refused his invitation to have sex. “She declined not by speaking to him but by biting him in the genitals,” defense attorney David Anderson told Mossman Magistrate’s Court. “He was in considerable pain.”

When Guns Are Outlawed Police in Annapolis, Md., reported two elderly women were at home when a man kicked in their door at 3:20 a.m. and demanded money. They said they had none, but he started going through a purse, prompting one of the women to grab a reacher device, used to grasp objects, to fend off the thief, who fled.

O, O, O, Canada Canadians no longer have to settle for porn from other countries now that federal regulators have approved an Alberta production company’s new digital pornography channel. The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission required 15 percent Canadian content, but Northern Peaks, billed as “Canada’s first adult video channel offering significant Canadian adult content,” agreed to provide “not less than 50 percent of the broadcast day and not less than 50 percent of the evening broadcast period to Canadian programming.” Shaun Donnelly, president of Real Productions, which holds the license for Northern Peaks, said Canadians are tired of seeing all-American porn, explaining, “There is always that thrill for something that is local and you get the sense that these are people you can meet in the supermarket.”

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