THE DARWIN AWARDS – 1997!
Ladies and Gentlemen, you’ve been patient, but believe me it’s been worth the wait.
THE DARWIN AWARDS are bestowed every year upon the remains of that individual, who through single-minded self-sacrifice, has done the most to remove undesirable elements from the human gene pool. Last year’s winner was the fellow who was killed when he attached a JATO (Jet Assisted Take Off) unit to his Chevy Impala and promptly shot himself at 300 mph into the side of a desert cliff.
And now, for this year’s illustrious winners:
– John Pernicky and friend Sal Hawkins, of the great state of Washington, decided to attend a local Metallica concert at the Amphitheater at George Washington. Having no tickets (but 18 beers among them) they sat in the parking lot, and after finishing the beer, decided that it would be easy enough to hop over the nine-foot high fence and sneak into the show. The two friends pulled their pickup truck over to the fence and the plan was for John–100 pounds heavier than Sal-to hop over, and then assist his friend over the fence. Unfortunately for John, there was a 30 foot drop on the other side of the fence. Having heaved himself over, he found himself crashing through a tree. His fall was abruptly halted by a large branch which snagged him by his shorts. Dangling from the tree, with one arm broken, John looked down and saw a group of bushes below him. Figuring the bushes would break his fall, John removed his pocket knife and proceeded to cut away his shorts to free himself from the tree. When finally free, John crashed below into Holly Bushes. The sharp leaves scratched his entire body and now being without his shorts, he was the unwilling victim of a holly branch penetrating his rectal cavity. To make matters worse, his pocket knife proceeded to fall with him and landed three inches into his left thigh. Seeing his friend in considerable pain and agony, Sal decided to throw him a rope and pull him to safety. However, weighing about 100 pounds less, he decided the best course of action would be to tie the rope to the pickup truck. This is when things went from bad to worse. In his drunken state, Sal put the truck into the wrong gear, pressed on the gas, and crashed through the fence, landing on and killing his friend. Sal was thrown from the truck, suffered massive internal injuries and also died at the scene. Police arrived to find a pickup truck with its driver thrown 100 feet from the vehicle and upon moving the truck, a half naked man, with numerous scratches, a holly stick up his rectum, a knife in his thigh, and a pair of shorts dangling from the tree branches 25 feet in the air.
[AP, Mammoth Lakes, CA] A San Anselmo man died yesterday when he hit a lift tower at the Mammoth Mountain ski area while riding down the slope on a foam pad, authorities said. Matthew David Hubal, 22, was pronounced dead at Centinela Mammoth Hospital. The accident occurred about 3 a.m., the Mono County Sheriff’s Department said. Hubal and his friends apparently had hiked up a ski run called Stump Alley and undid some yellow foam protectors from the lift towers, said Lieutenant Mike Donnelly of the Mammoth Lakes Police Department. The pads are used to protect skiers who might hit the towers. The group apparently used the pads to slide down the ski slope and Hubal crashed into a tower. It has since been investigated that the tower he hit was the one with its pad removed.
[AP, St. Louis, MO]
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.
Nice attempt, but might still procreate:
[Associated Press, Kincaid, W. VA]
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.” “He put it in his mouth and bit down. It blew all his teeth off, his tongue and his lips,” Payne said. Stromyer was listed in good condition Wednesday with extensive facial injuries, according to a spokesman at Charleston Area Medical Division. “I just can’t imagine anyone doing something like that,” Payne said.
[UPI, Portland, OR]
Doctors at Portland’s University Hospital said Wednesday an Oregon man shot 10through 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 last weekend during an initiation into a men’s rafting club, Mountain Men Anonymous, in Grants Pass, Ore. 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 had Robert tried to pull the arrow out on his own 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.” No charges have been filed but the Josephine County district B attorney’s office said the initiation stunt is under investigation.
Pillsbury Dough Boy Wanted for Attempted Murder.
A woman named Linda went to Arkansas last week to visit her in-laws, and while there, went to a store. She parked next to a car with a woman sitting in it, her eyes closed and hands behind her head, apparently sleeping. When Linda came out a while later, she again saw the woman, her hands still behind her head but with her eyes open. The woman looked very strange, so Linda tapped on the window and said “Are you okay?” The woman answered “I’ve been shot in the head, and I am holding my brains in.” Linda didn’t know what to do; so she ran into the store where store officials called the paramedics. They had to break into the car because the door was locked. When they got in, they found that the woman had bread dough on the back of her head and in her hands. A Pillsbury biscuit canister had exploded, apparently from the heat in the car, making a loud explosion like that of a gunshot, and hit her in the head. When she reached back to find what it was, she felt the dough and thought it was her brains. She passed out from fright at first, then attempted to hold her brains in.
DARWIN AWARD CANDIDATES
BUXTON, N.C. A man died on a beach when an 8-foot-deep hole he had dug into the sand caved in as he sat inside it. Beachgoers said Daniel Jones, 21, dug the hole for fun, or protection from the wind, and had been sitting in a beach chair at the bottom Thursday afternoon when it collapsed, burying him beneath 5 feet of sand. People on the beach on the Outer Banks used their hands and shovels, trying to claw their way to Jones, a resident of Woodbridge, Va., but could not reach him. It took rescue workers using heavy equipment almost an hour to free him while about 200 people looked on. Jones was pronounced dead at a hospital. You just wouldn’t believe the outpouring of concern, people digging with their hands, using pails from kids,” Dare County Sheriff Bert Austin said.
In February, Santiago Alvarado, 24, was killed in Lompoc, Calif., as he fell face-first through the ceiling of a bicycle shop he was burglarizing. Death was caused when the large flashlight he had placed in his mouth (to keep his hands free) crammed against the base of his skull as he hit the floor.
According to police in Dahlonega, Ga., ROTC cadet Nick Berrena, 20, was stabbed to death in January by fellow cadet Jeffrey Hoffman, 23, who was trying to prove that a knife could not penetrate the flak vest Berrena was wearing.
Sylvester Briddell, Jr., 26, was killed in February in Selbyville, Del., as he won a bet with friends who said he would not put a revolver loaded with four bullets into his mouth and pull the trigger.
In February, according to police in Windsor, Ont., Daniel Kolta, 27, and Randy Taylor, 33, died in a head-on collision, thus earning a tie in the game of chicken they were playing with their snowmobiles.
In October, a 49-year-old San Francisco stockbroker, who “totally zoned when he ran,” according to his wife, accidentally jogged off of a 200-foot-high cliff on his daily run.
In September in Detroit, a 41-year-old man got stuck and drowned in two feet of water after squeezing headfirst through an 18-inch-wide sewer grate to retrieve his car keys.
In September, a 7-year- old boy fell off a 100-foot-high bluff near Ozark, Ark., after he lost his grip swinging on a cross that marked the spot where another person had fallen to his death in 1990.
DARWIN AWARD WANNA-BE’S
In Guthrie, Okla., in October, Jason Heck tried to kill a millipede with a shot from his 22-caliber rifle, but the bullet ricocheted off a rock near the hole and hit pal Antonio Martinez in the head, fracturing his skull.
In Elyria, Ohio, in October, Martyn Eskins, attempting to clean out cobwebs in his basement, declined to use a broom in favor of a propane torch and caused a fire that burned the first and second floors of his house.
Paul Stiller, 47, was hospitalized in Andover Township, N. J., in September, and his wife Bonnie was also injured, by a quarter-stick of dynamite that blew up in their car. While driving around at 2 a.m., the bored couple lit the dynamite and tried to toss it out the window to see what would happen, but they apparently failed to notice that the window was closed.
Taking “Amateur Night” Too Far: In Betulia, Colombia, an annual festival in November includes five days of amateur bullfighting. This year, no bull was killed, but dozens of matadors were injured, including one gored in the head and one Bobbittized. Said one participant, “It’s just one bull against a town of a thousand morons.”
STUPID CRIMINAL TRICKS
Jeffrey J. Pyrcioch, 19, and an alleged accomplice were arrested in West Lafayette, Ind., in May on theft and fraud charges. Pyrcioch allegedly cashed checks that he had written with disappearing ink, apparently believing the checks would be blank by the time they were presented to the bank for collection. However, traces of ink remained, and police said Pyrcioch would have a better chance of getting away with it if he had not used checks pre-printed with his name and account number on them.
In August, 12 men were arrested near Szczecin in northern Poland as they were digging up a road because they had heard a rumor that it was built with a large stockpile of police-confiscated hashish. The hashish had been sold to a chemical plant to be incinerated into ash for road construction.
Paul Carthy, 25, pleaded guilty in Exeter, England, in September to theft subsequent to his original charge of shoplifting from a liquor store. In the second theft, he had stolen the magnetic letters off the name board that was held up to his face when his mug shot was taken.
In September, according to police in Junction City, Kan., David Bell, 30, just released from jail for car theft, walked out the door and stole another car to get home.
And in October, William B. Singleton, 24, just released from jail in Belton, Mo., on a larceny charge, allegedly broke into a vending machine in the lobby of the police station and stole a 60-cent Strawberry Twisteroo while he waited for his ride to arrive.