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Darwin Awards 2000

>This year's... Darwin Awards 2000.

>Hard to believe, but another year has passed... (For those
>who don't know about it, the Darwin Awards are awarded every year to the
>person(s) who died in the stupidest way, thereby removing themselves
>from the gene pool...) The 2000 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, Mich., 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 rumbling 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, N.C.
>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 Toronto
>Dominion Bank Tower early Friday evening as he was explaining the
>strength of the building's windows to visiting law students.
>Hoy previously had conducted demonstration of
>window strength according to police reports.  Peter Lawyers, 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
>NOMINEE No. 5: [Bloomberg News Service] A terrible diet and 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 an autopsy showed large
>amounts of methane gas in his system. His diet had consisted primarily of
>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 near-airtight bedroom. According to the article, "He was a
>man with a huge capacity for creating "this deadly gas." Three of the
>rescuers got sick and one was hospitalized.
>NOMINEE No. 6: ["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 and
>attempting to fix his small TV set, he bit into a wire and was
>NOMINEE NO. 7: ["The Indianapolis Star"]. A cigarette lighter may have
>triggered a fatal explosion in Dunkirk, Indiana. A Jay County 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 about
>11:30 p.m.  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 stories 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 the chair moved and he went over the
>balcony," Honer said.
>AND FINALLY - NOMINEE No. 9: [Arkansas Democrat Gazette]
>{Not a fatality but worthy of special mention}
>Two local men were seriously injured when their pickup truck left the
>road and struck a tree near Cotton Patch on State Highway 38 early
>Monday morning. Woodruff County deputy Dovey Snyder reported
>the accident shortly after midnight Monday.
>Thurston Poole, 33, of Des Arc and Billy Ray Wallis, 38, of Little Rock
>are listed in serious condition at Baptist Medical Center. The accident
>occurred as the two men were returning to Des Arc after a frog-gigging
>trip.  On an overcast Sunday night, 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.
>After inserting the bullet, the headlights again began to operate properly
>and the two men proceeded toward the White River
>bridge.  After traveling about 20 miles and just before crossing the
>river, the bullet apparently overheated, discharged and struck Poole
>in the right testicle.
>The vehicle swerved sharply right exiting the pavement and
>striking a tree. Poole suffered only minor cuts and abrasions from the
>accident, but will require surgery to repair the other wound. 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 ten 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.
>(Way to go, Lavinia).

and THE contender for the #1 Darwin Award:

> > > The Arizona Highway Patrol came upon a pile of
> > smoldering
> > > metal embedded into the side of a cliff rising
> > above
> > > the road at the apex of a curve. The wreckage
> > resembled
> > > the site of an airplane crash, but it was a car.
> > The
> > > type of car was unidentifiable at the scene. The
> > lab
> > > finally figured out what it was and what had
> > happened.
> > >
> > > It seems that a guy had somehow gotten hold of a
> > JATO
> > > unit (Jet Assisted Take Off - actually a solid
> > fuel
> > > rocket) that is used to give heavy military
> > transport
> > > planes an extra "push" for taking off from short
> > airfields.
> > > He had driven his Chevy Impala out into the desert
> > and
> > > found a long, straight stretch of road. Then he
> > attached
> > > the JATO unit to his car, jumped in, got up some
> > speed
> > > and fired off the JATO!
> > >
> > > The facts as best as could be determined are that
> > the
> > > operator of the 1967 Impala hit the JATO ignition
> > at
> > > a distance of approximately 3.0 miles from the
> > crash
> > > site. This was established by the prominent
> > scorched
> > > and melted asphalt at that location.
> > >
> > > The JATO, if operating properly, would have
> > reached
> > > maximum thrust within 5 seconds, causing the Chevy
> > to
> > > reach speeds well in excess of 350 mph and
> > continuing
> > > at full power for an additional 20-25 seconds.
> > >
> > > The driver, soon to be pilot, most likely would
> > have
> > > experienced G-forces usually reserved for
> > dog-fighting
> > > F-14 jocks under full afterburners, basically
> > causing
> > > him to become insignificant for the remainder of
> > the
> > > event. However, the automobile remained on the
> > straight
> > > highway for about 2.5 miles (15-20 seconds) before
> > the
> > > driver applied and completely melted the brakes,
> > blowing
> > > the tires and leaving thick rubber marks on the
> > road
> > > surface, then becoming airborne for an additional
> > 1.4
> > > miles and impacting the cliff face at a height of
> > 125
> > > feet leaving a blackened crater 3 feet deep in the
> > rock.
> > >
> > > Most of the driver's remains were not recoverable;
> > however,
> > > small fragments of bone, teeth and hair were
> > extracted
> > > from the crater and fingernail and bone shards
> > were
> > > removed from a piece of debris believed to be a
> > portion
> > > of the steering wheel.
> > >
> > > Epilog:
> > >
> > > It has been calculated that this moron nearly
> > reached
> > > Mach I, attaining a ground-speed of approximately
> > 420
> > > mph.
> >
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