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Curses, Foiled Again

To celebrate getting permission to remove the ankle monitor that held her in house arrest in Osceola County, Fla., Angela Estrella, 37, rented a car and headed for New York City. A few hundred miles up I-95, the rental car broke down. When the tow truck sent to rescue her arrived, Estrella asked driver Mike Frazier if he’d take her to New York. He declined, but when he turned his back to call the car rental company, authorities said she jumped into the rig and drove off. The truck was equipped with a GPS, however, allowing law enforcement to track and arrest her. (The Daytona Beach News-Journal)

Revenge of the Mobile Devices

Texting contributed to the crash of a medical helicopter near Mosby, Mo., according to National Transportation Safety Board investigators. Despite the helicopter operator’s rule forbidding pilots to use electronic devices during flight, pilot James Freudenbert, 34, had exchanged 20 personal text messages in the two hours before the crash, including one 19 minutes before. Officials said the texting apparently prevented Fruedenbert from noticing the helicopter was running out of fuel. (Los Angeles Times)

Smartphone accidents are on the rise. The Chinese website Xianguo.com reported that a Hong Kong man named Du blamed his Samsung Galaxy S4 phone for burning down his house. Du said he was playing the game “Love Machine” on the phone when its battery popped. Startled, he threw the phone on a sofa, which burst into flames that quickly spread. Later that month, an 18-year-old Swiss woman received third-degree burns on her leg after her Samsung Galaxy S3 exploded in her pocket. In the same month, a Chinese woman reportedly died from an electric shock when she answered a call on her iPhone while it was charging; a similar occurrence sent a Chinese man into a coma. (Huffington Post)

Believing that he may have accidentally dropped his cellphone down a garbage chute in his Palatine, Ill., apartment building, Roger Mirro, 56, went looking for it in a trash compactor, which crushed him to death. (Chicago Tribune)

Double Jeopardy

Ye Mengyuan, 16, a passenger aboard the Asiana Airline flight that crash landed in San Francisco in July survived the crash and was thrown from the plane but died when she was run over by a rescue vehicle responding to the emergency, according to San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault. (CNN)

Avoirdupois Follies

New Zealand authorities declined to renew the work visa of Albert Buitenhuis, a chef from South Africa, because he’s too fat. Weighing 286 pounds, Buitenhuis is at “significant risk” of medical complications, according to an immigration official, who pointed out, “It is important that all migrants have an acceptable standard of health to minimize costs and demands on New Zealand’s health services.” His wife, Marthie Buitenhuis, noted that their annual work visas had been renewed with “very little problem” since they moved to Christchurch six years ago, even though her husband now weighs 65 pounds less now than he did then. (BBC News)

Bucket-List Follies

After 44 years of dreaming and 38 years of being overruled by his wife, Barry Strang, 59, finally bought a motorcycle. He picked it up at the dealership in Lander, Wyo., but had driven it just three miles when he collided with a tractor-trailer and was killed. “It was something he wanted his whole life,” Pam Strang said. “It’s like my son said, ‘Dad went out with the biggest smile on his face.’” (Casper Star-Tribune)

Respect Your Elders — Or Else

Chinese legislators amended a law to require people to visit or keep in touch with their elderly parents or risk being sued. “It is mainly to stress the right of elderly people to ask for emotional support,” Xiao Jinming, a law professor at Shandong University who helped draft the measure, explained. “We want to emphasize there is such a need.” (Associated Press)

Droning On

In the latest backlash against unmanned aerial vehicles, town officials in Deer Trail, Colo., are considering a proposed ordinance that would grant hunting permits allowing residents to shoot down drones. The permits would cost $25, and anyone who presents evidence of shooting down a drone would receive $100. “This is a pre-emptive strike,” said Phillip Steel, 48, who proposed the measure and collected enough signatures on a petition to require local officials to act on it. “I don’t want to live in a surveillance society.” The Federal Aviation Administration responded that people who fire guns at drones could be prosecuted or fined, but Steel insisted, “The FAA doesn’t have the power to make a law.” (Associated Press)

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About The Author

Roland Sweet

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

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