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News » News Quirks

Nuts Behind the Wheel


Curses, Foiled Again
Police arrested a man they said bought fake drugs with fake money. Kyle Kochelek, 21, handed an undercover officer in Unicoi County, Tenn., “obviously bad money,” according to investigators, who pointed out to the Johnson City Press that some of the bills were printed on just one side.  After police arrested Elizabeth Russell, 45, and her 13-year-old daughter for shoplifting in Plainville, Conn., Daryll Russell, 47, came to the police station to bail out his wife and daughter, only to be arrested himself when a computer check turned up an outstanding warrant. The Hartford Courant reported that when son Jonathan Russell, 19, showed up to post bail for the three, police found he was wanted for violating probation and arrested him, too.

Nuts Behind the Wheel
After crashing into two vehicles and leaving the scene, then vandalizing the lobby of a church, Veronica Hollifield, 77, led police on a low-speed chase through Port Orange, Fla., The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported that the woman drove her 1999 Toyota at speeds between 10 and 15 mph, scattering pedestrians and refusing repeated demands to stop. At one point, an officer ran alongside her car and managed to open the car door and grab Hollifield’s arm, but she put the car in reverse and rammed a squad car behind her before taking off. She then slammed into another police cruiser and headed down a dead-end street. An officer threw stop sticks in her path, flattening three of her tires.
She continued driving until she crashed into a tree.

• Nebraska state police reported that an 88-year-old man led troopers on a 40-mile chase down the wrong side of Interstate 80 at speeds between 30 mph and 70 mph. Capt. Jim Parish told the Omaha World Herald that the man just smiled and waved at troopers who pulled alongside and shined a spotlight into his minivan, yelling frantically for him to pull over. Even when they put down stop sticks that flattened his tires, he kept on going. When he did finally heed the flashing lights and stop, he wasn’t drunk, just confused, Parish said, explaining that the man’s wife had sent him out for dinner, and he got lost.

Mensa Reject of the Week
After Patrick Larue, 24, walked into the Hyannis, Mass., seeking help for burns and smoke inhalation, he explained that he had been talking on his cell phone in his rental car with the motor running when it ran out of gas. Fire Lt. Roger Cadrin told the Cape Cod Times the man said he burned himself after starting a small fire in the vehicle to keep warm. Larue was hospitalized, Cadrin said, and the car was “heavily damaged.”

Log Cabin of the Future
FairPoint Communications reported that since last fall, thieves have cut down and stolen 35 telephone poles in Oakland, Maine. FairPoint supervisor Simon Thorne explained the poles had no wires attached to them and were left behind when the company installed replacement poles next to them.

Lucky—Up to a Point
A man who lost control of his vehicle and drove off a 200foot cliff near Los Banos, Calif., survived the rollover accident, only to be killed while trying to get help. Aria Day Fletcher, 23, a passenger in the Toyota Tundra, told California Highway Patrol investigators that the driver climbed back up to the highway, apparently to flag down assistance, when he was hit and killed by a Honda Accord.

Capital Punishment
Nicholas Hernandez, 25, who was charged with felony murder after being accused of killing two people while driving drunk in Harris County, Texas, last August, died when the car he was riding in struck a pole and rolled over in February. Authorities told the Houston Chronicle that the driver of the vehicle, Jose Resendez, 27, was drinking at the time.

Angel Galvan-Hernandez, 26, pleaded guilty to raping two women in Seattle and then begged Judge Julie Spector to sentence him to be executed rather than send him to prison because he fears that he will be raped. “I prefer death a thousand times over being raped,” Galvan-Hernandez said.

Compiled from the nation’s press by Roland Sweet. Submit items, citing date and source, to P.O. Box 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.