-- In May, a 19-year-old mentally ill patient walked away from the Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs, and authorities warned that he was potentially dangerous. Twelve hours later, the patient, Terry Crazy, was picked up along Interstate 90. According to hospital spokeswoman Connie Worl, "Mr. Crazy was brought back ... without incident."
-- Males, Especially, Should Not Read This Item: In June, an 11-year-old boy in Grimsby, England, standing on a chair holding a snooker cue stick as if riding a pogo stick, with the tip at the juncture of his legs, slipped and fell to the floor, incurring perhaps the most serious injury possible under the circumstances (although he is recuperating satisfactorily). Scrotal repair was necessary, as was abdominal surgery, to fix the rupture caused by the protruding tip of the stick.
According to her lawyer, Teren Basel's 2 1/2-year divorce battle with wealthy husband Peter Basel was "a trip to a concentration camp that she survived by the skin of her teeth" (Bolton, Mass., January). And Catholic Cardinal Thomas Winning, describing the "bombard(ment)" of Scotland by gay-rights advocates, likened it to "the dark days of World War II" (Edinburgh, Scotland, January). And San Carlos, Calif., tavern owner Al Tolbert, reluctantly enforcing the state's clean-air-in-bars law, decorated his no-smoking signs with swastikas; said Tolbert, "It appears a bunch of (Adolf Hitler's) adherents are running (the California government)" (January).
-- In February, voters in Holland, Mich., rejected a ballot initiative to restrict Internet access on local public library computers so as to keep pornography from minors. The initiative was led by Irvin Bos, 59, who told reporters that he became a pornography foe at age 12 when he found a sexually explicit book on the side of a road and sneaked looks at it in the family barn, and that within six months, lightning had hit the barn, demolishing it. Said Bos, "I just knew (that my pornography) had caused that barn to burn down."
-- Disabled Springfield, Mass., police officer Charles Peck, 55, asked the city council last year for higher benefits based on his 1982 squad car crash that ended his career. Peck was hurt so severely that he was declared dead at the scene (only to be resuscitated at the hospital), and his latest petition demands benefits equal to his full salary, which is an amount available only to surviving spouses of deceased officers. Thus, Peck appears to be claiming that since he was declared dead in 1982, he actually is his own survivor. At press time, the Springfield city council had not decided.
-- Dennis Ferrer, 56, was arrested in Chalmette, La., in March and charged with stealing from the donation box at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church. Ferrer had on him three thin rods with a sticky substance on one end, and $381, but said he was not stealing the money, but rather freeing it because the church was run by communists.
-- Pedophile Pediatricians: Dr. David Mark Stier, 42, pled guilty in Charlotte, N.C., in March to having sex with an underage teen-ager. (Though a pediatrician, said his lawyer, Stier in reality "had no idea the age of this child.") And in Alexandria, Va., in February, Dr. Jonathan L. Weinstein, 32, was sentenced to a year in prison for possession of child pornography. (According to his lawyer, Weinstein got no personal pleasure from the pornography, but was merely a pack rat who accumulated things; said the lawyer, Weinstein still has "Froot Loops that date from 1995," "chocolate pudding from 1983," "guitar strings," and "his teen-aged T-shirts."
-- In April, Ontario Justice Peter Harris dismissed charges against a woman accused of prostitution when she told him that she was just out that night hitchhiking, which Harris thought was too "innocuous" an activity to permit a conviction. However, the woman had been asked "How much?" by an undercover police officer and had answered "Forty dollars," but Judge Harris said she might have meant only how much she would pay for a ride.
-- In April, alleged Mafia boss Vincenzo Curcio broke out of the high-security Vallette prison in Turin, Italy, by patiently sawing through the bars with dental floss. (The prison, built in the 1970s, had installed bars of abnormally soft iron.) And the month before, Texas inmate Antonio Lara used a makeshift dental-floss-like substance to saw his way out of his cell at the Coffield facility near Palestine, Texas, allegedly in order to kill rival Roland Rios in another cell.
-- Prospective bride and groom Dorrell Mainer, 38, and Kevin Rainey, 41, were arrested in Brooklyn, N.Y., and charged with attempting on June 7 to rob a Chase Manhattan Bank (a robbery they had to abort when a teller delayed getting the money). The couple had scheduled a huge wedding for June 10 with out-of-town guests, intending to pay for it with a tax refund, but when IRS denied the refund, according to police, the bank robbery was the best way the couple knew to pay the caterers and avoid disappointing their relatives.
According to a University of Cologne archaeologist, addressing a meeting in Cairo, Egypt, in April, nearly all prehistoric sites along the Nile valley have been spoiled by land and building projects, and now tourists are destroying Egypt's Western Desert sites. One of the most ruinous tactics, he said, is tourists' pouring water over 9,000-year-old paintings so they can see the features more clearly.
In 1993, News of the Weird reported on a Redmond, Wash., judge who, when his defendant broke free of bailiffs and fled, leaped off the bench himself and, robe flapping, pursued the man out of the courthouse and down the street. In April 2000, Philadelphia Judge Peter Rogers showed a similar impatience with his own bailiffs and dashed after escaping suspect John Jordan, who was making a run for it after having simply failed to appear for his previous 24 court hearings. Unlike the Redmond judge, Rogers came back empty-handed.
Dennis Sullivan, 23, was arrested in January for the robbery of what he thought was an armored car, according to Manassas, Va., police. In reality, it was a laundry truck delivering towels and mops to a Bowl America. Said a police officer, "(Sullivan, holding a sawed-off shotgun), ran up to the (driver) and said, 'Give it up.' The (driver) said, 'What?'" Sullivan grabbed a bag and ran but soon realized he had a bag of mopheads. By the time police spotted him running for his getaway car, he was no longer dangerous because his shotgun, which was snug against his arm underneath his long-sleeved shirt, had become tangled in the shirt and could not be aimed.
The government insultingly said Harold Gaulding's 1.25 acres that it confiscated for road-widening was worth $525, but a jury said it is worth $50,000 (Colbert, Ga.). A police sergeant who is also a youth league baseball coach was demoted to patrolman after traffic-ticketing an umpire who had just ejected him for arguing a call at first base (Alvin, Texas). A 29-year-old murder suspect was arrested outside the house he had been sharing with an overtrusting executive for the TV show "Cops" (Los Angeles). A rapist was sentenced to only seven years for his crime because, noted the judge, when the victim started choking, he loosened her gag and gave her a glass of water (Pontevedra, Spain). A 21-year-old woman dumped her infant off with friends on false pretenses so she could fulfill her dream by joining a traveling carnival (Buffalo, N.Y.)
(Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa, Fla. 33679 or Weird@compuserve.com, or go to www.NewsoftheWeird.com/.)