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  • Darwin Awards 2

    1998 DARWIN AWARD CANDIDATES

    Once again it is time to start thinking about casting your vote for the 1998 Darwin Award winner! As you may already know, the Darwin Awards are for those nominees who contribute to the gene pool by dying in spectacularly stupid ways before they breed (thankfully).

    The 1998 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 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 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 Toronto Dominion Bank Tower 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 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 association.

    NOMINEE No.5: [Bloomburg 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 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 near 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. Whilst sitting on a metal toilet in his cell and 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 fatal explosion - 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: [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 No.9: [Unknown] To poacher Marino Malerba, who shot a stag standing above him on an overhanging rock-and was killed instantly when it fell on him.

    NOMINEE No.10: [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."

    NOMINEE No.11: [Reuters, Mississauga, Ontario] A man cleaning a birdfeeder 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.

    NOMINEE No.12: [UPI, Portland, OR] Doctors at Portland's University Hospital said Wednesday an Oregon man shot through the skull by a hunting arrow is lucky to be alive, and will be released soon from the hospital. Tony Roberts, 25, lost his right eye during an initiation into a men's rafting club, Mountain Men Anonymous, in Grants Pass, OR. A friend tried to shoot a beer can off his head, but the arrow entered Roberts' right eye. Doctors said had the arrow gone 1 millimeter to the left, a major blood vessel would have cut and Roberts would have died instantly. Neurosurgeon Dr. Johnny Delashaw at the University Hospital in Portland said the arrow went through 8 to 10 inches of brain, with the tip protruding at the rear of his skull, yet somehow managed to miss all major blood vessels. Delashaw also said that if Robert had tried to pull the arrow out he surely would have killed himself. Roberts admitted afterwards he and his friends had been drinking that afternoon. Said Roberts, "I feel so dumb about this."

    AND FINALLY, NOMINEE No.14!!!: [Arkansas Democrat Gazette] Two local men were seriously injured when their pick-up 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 pick-up 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 east bound toward the White River bridge. After traveling approximately twenty miles and just before crossing the river, the bullet apparently overheated, discharged and struck Poole in the right testicle. The vehicle swerved sharply to the 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 _____ 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.