News That Sounds Like a Joke
Wait times at emergency rooms are notoriously long, and Danny Konieczny's experience was no different on March 6 at The Villages Hospital in The Villages, Fla. The Lady Lake resident, 61, was at home earlier in the day when a neighbor called 911 to report Konieczny was drunk and suicidal. According to WOFL TV, first responders took him to the hospital, where he waited for two hours to see a doctor before getting exasperated and stealing an ambulance to drive home. Konieczny parked the ambulance in the driveway of the neighbor he thought had called the police about him, and when Lake County Sheriff's investigators tracked him down, they found Konieczny curled up in the trunk of his own car in his garage. Konieczny was put on no-bond status because he is still on probation from a 2017 drunk driving charge.
An Escalating Situation
Things went from bad to worse for 30-year-old Isaac Bonsu on March 6 when he was charged in Alexandria, Va., with felony hit-and-run involving an unlikely victim. Fairfax County Police pulled Bonsu over for an equipment violation, but he apparently forgot to put it in "park" before exiting the vehicle. Bonsu can be seen on police dashcam video running in front of the car and then being struck by it. Unhurt, Bonsu jumped up and kept running, but police were able to catch him. The Associated Press reported that Bonsu was charged with driving while intoxicated (his third) and possessing marijuana along with the hit-and-run.
Environmentalists decry all the debris washing up on beaches around the world, but a discovery in January near Perth, Australia, has historians thrilled. The Washington Post reported that Tonya Illman and a friend were walking along the beach when she spotted "a lovely old bottle." Inside was a damp note, tied with string. "We took it home and dried it out ... and it was a printed form, in German, with very faint German handwriting on it," she said. Experts at the Western Australia Museum have determined the note was 132 years old—24 years older than the previous record for a message in a bottle. The note was dated June 12, 1886, from a ship named Paula. Further study revealed that a German Naval Observatory program was analyzing global ocean currents in the area between 1864 and 1933, and an entry in the Paula's captain's journal made note of the bottle being tossed overboard. Thousands of other bottles were released into the sea as part of the program, and only 662 have been returned. The last one discovered was in January 1934.
• It might not be the oldest ever found, but the message in a bottle found by 12-year-old Joseph Vallis of Sandys Parish, Bermuda, certainly traveled an impressive distance—more than 1,000 miles. The Royal Gazette reported that Vallis and his Warwick Academy class were picking up trash around Bailey's Bay on March 10 when he came across a green bottle with a plastic bag inside. He and his father, Boyd, uncorked the bottle and found a note dated April 2014 that had been set adrift from a French sailing yacht crossing the Atlantic. The note included an email address and invitation to contact the authors, but as of press time, the Vallises were still awaiting a response.
The Stuff of Nightmares
Kayaker Sue Spector, 77, was out for a leisurely paddle on the Braden River in Florida with her husband and friends on March 4 when someone remarked, "Oh look, there's an otter." No sooner had the words been spoken than the mammal with a playful reputation jumped onto Spector in her kayak and began clawing and scratching her arms, nose and ear. "He wouldn't let go and I kept screaming. I kept beating him with a paddle," Spector told FOX13 News. She later required stitches, antibiotics and rabies treatment. It was the second otter attack in two days, and Florida Fish and Wildlife has now posted signs about the "aggressive otter" near the area.
The Litigious Society
Neldin Molina of Denver is dragging Hamburger Mary's restaurant in Tampa, Fla., to court with a $1.5 million lawsuit alleging she was injured there by a drag queen's breasts. According to WESH TV, Molina was visiting the restaurant in May 2015 with friends and family when a drag show began. Molina said drag queen Amanda D'Hod pointed at her and began to approach her, but Molina turned her back to signal she didn't want to participate in the show. The suit, filed in early March, alleges that D'Hod then walked in front of Molina, grabbed her head and shook it, pounding it violently against the performer's fake breasts. The complaint said Molina began to experience headaches and neck pain and later went to the emergency room at Memorial Hospital of Tampa. The lawsuit also notes the restaurant failed to notify patrons of possible danger from the drag show.
The Carelse family of Lakewood, Colo., picked up some groceries at the Walmart in Littleton on March 5, including a box of Quaker 100 Percent Natural Granola with oats, honey and raisins. When they sat down for breakfast the next morning, they told KMGH TV, Anthea Carelse noticed that the "best by" date on the box was Feb. 22, 1997—more than 21 years ago. Her husband, Josiah, ate his full bowl and didn't suffer any unpleasant consequences, but Anthea stopped after two bites. Josiah planned to return the box to Walmart.
Toot Your Own Horn
March 3 was a big day in Key West, Fla., as competitors sounded off in the 56th Annual Conch Shell Blowing Contest. For 70-year-old Mary Lou Smith of Panama City Beach, winning the women's division was topped only by a marriage proposal (which she accepted with a hearty honk from her shell) from fellow competitor Rick Race, 73, also of Panama City Beach. The Guardian reports that the large shells were used in the 19th century by seafarers as signaling devices, and dozens of entrants show off their skills each year at Key West's Oldest House Museum.
Least Competent Criminal
On March 12 in Northumberland, England, a car thief making a getaway in a Mini Cooper S discovered the small car was not small enough to navigate a narrow stone staircase in Carlisle Park. Northumbria police were called to the park around 11:30 p.m. where they found the car and its unnamed 31-year-old driver both wedged tightly between the staircase walls. Area residents speculated to Metro News that the driver might have been trying to re-enact a scene from The Italian Job, a 1969 movie. "I'm sure the older Minis would have got down no problem," said Chris Stoker.
An unnamed Russian woman stunned tourists and onlookers March 10 when she walked into the Red Sea and, with the help of a doctor and her partner, gave birth. From the balcony of her uncle's apartment in Dahab, Egypt, Hadia Hosny El Said photographed the events, as the doctor carried the newborn and its father walked alongside with the still-attached placenta in a plastic bowl. After a few minutes, the mother emerged from the sea to join her family, including a toddler, on the beach. El Said told The Daily Mail the doctor is Russian and specializes in water births.
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