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News Quirks 

Curses, Foiled Again

While police were driving burglary suspect Kylen English, 20, to the Montgomery County, Ohio, jail, he began banging his head against the car’s rear passenger window when crossing a bridge. “The officer starts to pull over,” Dayton police Lt. Kim Hill recounted, “and once he pulled over, the suspect had the window broken. He then went headfirst out the window and headfirst over the bridge.” The cruiser was roughly midway across the bridge, but the river flows beneath only a third of the span. English fell 30 feet onto a dry, rocky area and was pronounced dead. (Dayton Daily News)

When a gunman demanded money from Fred and Julie Kemp in Boynton Beach, Fla., Fred Kemp, 63, pushed the gun away, provoking the robber to pistol-whip him in the head. “I reacted from there,” the 5-foot-7, 150-pound former wrestler said. “I foot-sweeped him down,” then maneuvered him into a “sleeper hold” until he began to lose consciousness and dropped the weapon. Kemp held the robber down until police arrived and arrested Richard Nowling, 41. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Litigation Nation

After graduating at the top of her class at McGehee High School, Kymberly Wimberly, 18, is suing the Arkansas school for racial discrimination because it named a white student with a lower grade point average as her co-valedictorian. Wimberly, who took Advanced Placement and honors courses and maintained the top GPA, even after she gave birth to a daughter during her junior year, said her mother, who works at the school, overheard school officials say they wanted to avoid the “big mess” of having her as valedictorian. (ABC News)

The husband of Diane Schuler, who killed eight people, including herself, while driving a minivan the wrong way on a highway for two miles while under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, is suing the State of New York because he insisted it didn’t keep the road safe and failed to provide signs warning against driving the wrong way. (Cortlandt’s Daily Cortlandt)

Incendiary Devices

About a dozen Brigham Young University students suffered burns while dropping homemade gasoline bombs down a mineshaft in Utah County, Utah, when their fuel container accidentally spilled and caught fire. Sheriff’s deputies pointed out that the area in the Tintic mining district is a popular spot for college students to play with fire. (Salt Lake City’s KSL-TV)

Joseph P. Williamson, 31, was checking for sugar in the gas tank of his girlfriend’s car in Pinellas County, Fla., by siphoning gas with a leaf blower. Sheriff’s official Tom Nestor said a spark from the blower caused an explosion that seriously burned Williamson. (Tampa-St. Petersburg’s Bay News 9)

Second-Amendment Follies

Rachel Avila, 30, was standing in front of her mobile home in Banning, Calif., when she found a 4-inch-long gun on the ground. According to police, she believed the .22 derringer-style gun was a novelty cigarette lighter and tried to light it by pulling the trigger. The weapon fired at the ground, but the bullet ricocheted and hit her 12-year-old daughter in the arm. (Riverside’s Press-Enterprise)

Joshua Seto, 27, and his fiancée were walking to a store in Chandler, Ariz., when he tucked her pink handgun in the front waistband of his pants. The gun accidentally fired, hitting Seto in his penis and thigh. “If you are going to carry a handgun on your person,” police Detective Seth Tyler advised after Seto was treated at the hospital, “use a holster, not your waistband.” (Phoenix’s Arizona Republic)

Hoping to win back his girlfriend, Jordan Cardella, 20, asked a friend in South Milwaukee, Wis., to shoot him so he could say he was attacked, then she would feel sorry for him. According to the criminal complaint, Cardella told Michael C. Wezyk, 24, to shoot him in the back three times with a rifle, but when Wezyk shot him once in the arm, Cardella slumped over. Wezyk refused to shoot him again and took the rifle home. The girlfriend did not visit Cardella in the hospital, but police did and later arrested Wezyk. “This has to be the most phenomenally stupid case that I have ever seen,” Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Christopher Rawsthorne said, prompting Wezyk to plead guilty and tell the judge he was “sorry to bring something so stupid into your courtroom.” (Milwaukee’s Journal Sentinel)

Haberdashery Justice

A Russian court in Velsk rejected the parole request of Russian tax evader Platon Lebedev after prison officials stated that he hasn’t admitted his guilt, sometimes is aloof toward other prisoners and lost a pair of cotton prison pants. During the seven-hour session, the one-time oil magnate insisted that prison authorities, not he, lost the pants. (Associated Press)

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Roland Sweet

Roland Sweet is the author of the syndicated column "News Quirks," which appears weekly in Seven Days.


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