Newsquirks | Syndicated Columns | Salt Lake City Weekly


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After two men robbed a Brinks armored truck guard at gunpoint as he left a bank in Cutler Ridge, Fla., carrying a moneybag, Alvaro Zabaleta of the Miami-Dade County Police Department pointed out that the bag contained no money, only deposit slips.

Authorities said that Brian R. Pancherodich and two other men broke into an auto salvage yard in Orange County, Fla. While Pancherodich was trying to steal an air bag, it deployed, causing him life-threatening injuries. Sheriff’s investigators said the other two men thought the exploding air bag was a gunshot and fled, leaving Pancherodich, who remained at the salvage yard for eight hours before he was rescued and taken to an Orlando hospital intensive-care unit.


A ship carrying deck sections for a new bridge in Tacoma, Wash., hit the old bridge because engineers miscalculated the old bridge’s height. According to Linea Laird, manager of the $849 million bridge project, the ship had 16 deck sections stacked 135 feet above the water level. The bridge builders figured it would fit under the old bridge with 36 feet to spare, but they forgot to take into account temporary scaffolding on top of the deck sections, which hit the underside of the bridge and toppled over.

An 80-foot wooden roof truss in a new church near Thorsby, Ala., collapsed onto the sanctuary floor after the congregation and volunteers designed and built it without filing plans or getting approval from state or local building officials. Explaining that a church member and her daughter designed the church by looking at pictures on the Internet, Pastor Jeff Carroll said he was unaware of any church building requirements and insisted that the project was none of the government’s business. “If the state and church are separate,” he told The Birmingham News, “I don’t understand why they think they’ve got jurisdiction.

Way to Go

Australian authorities concluded that a 38-year-old man who died when his car crashed into a utility pole in Melbourne lost control of his vehicle after accidentally shooting himself in the groin with a loaded firearm that he was carrying.

Natividad Andrea Torres, 26, died after she was run over by her own car on a road in Buffalo Grove, Ill. She was backing up with her door open, police Sgt. Scott Kristiansen said, when “it appears that her vehicle started to accelerate, and she fell out of her vehicle.” She was dragged under her car, which then collided with a tractor-trailer.

Brendon Tahau, 26, died, according to New Zealand authorities in Rotorua, after being bashed at least 40 times with an aluminum baseball bat and stabbed five times in the back. Wharetakahia Hamiora, 22, and Gabriel John Kingi, 19, admitted attacking Tahau during a game of Scrabble when he objected to the way Hamiora was speaking to other players.

Mississippi Highway Patrol investigators reported that two Pascagoula residents were killed when an automobile struck them while they stood in the middle of an Interstate highway arguing in the middle of the afternoon. One of the victims, D’Wayne Vaughn, 27, was thrown in such a way that his body crashed through the windshield of the car that hit him and landed in the back seat. “The people that hit them were just going down the road,” Sgt. Joe Gazzo said. “They weren’t expecting to see anybody in the middle of the road.

Slightest Provocation

Police investigating the stabbing of a 54-year-old man in Milwaukee concluded that the incident occurred while he and a 47-year-old male suspect were arguing about not having an argument. The suspect pulled a knife and stabbed the victim in the stomach and chest.

Avian Antics

Hoping to get rid of pigeons on its roof, Ellis Hospital in Schenectady, N.Y., hired an exterminator that was supposed to use a pesticide to poison a few birds. The plan was that their distress calls would then drive away other members of the flock. Instead, more than two dozen pigeons were stricken, and sick and dying birds falling from the sky disrupted emergency room operations as ambulances had to be diverted to other hospitals. “Birds were coming down like dive bombers,” Fire Chief Robert Farstad said.

Steven Turnage called police in Searcy, Ark., after someone shot bottle rockets at him while he was wearing a chicken suit to attract business to a local fast-food restaurant. Turnage told investigators that the fireworks, which nearly hit him in the eye and burned part of his suit, were the final straw in a series of attacks by people throwing cans of smokeless tobacco and frozen drinks at him since he donned the costume. After police charged Joseph R. Craig, 20, for the rocket attack, Turnage said, “I’d like for this guy to have to wear the chicken suit for a day out in this heat to see what it’s like.

False Alarms

Russian police arrested nearly 100 people after getting reports of a brawl on a vacant lot outside Rostov-on-Don. They were released without charges when officers realized that they were the players and fans involved in a rugby match.

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