(17 June 2003, United Kingdom) The National Express bus service between Aberdeen and London takes approximately twelve hours, with NO SMOKING on the coach. A 43-year-old woman was riding south from Glasgow, and as the miles rolled by, she became more and more desperate for a cigarette. It’s a long trip for addicts.
The coach stopped at Carlisle–at last, she could satisfy her craving! But no, she was not allowed off the coach. She sat in her seat, becoming more agitated by the mile. She was craving a cigarette. She was fuming.
Fellow passengers said she became increasingly anxious as the journey continued, and started shouting that she wanted off. However, the coach was on a motorway at the time. It was not permitted to stop, save for emergencies.
Somewhere between Shap and Penrith, passengers saw the woman push against the passenger door in the middle of the lower deck. She couldn’t be trying to get off to smoke, could she?
Oh, yes she could!
Police concluded that the coach was traveling approximately sixty miles per hour. Our involuntary non-smoker was crushed beneath its wheels. At that point, the coach did make that hoped-for emergency stop, but life is not fair. Unlike a condemned man, our heroine never did get that last cigarette.
This actually happened in the county next door to mine back home…
(14 February 2002, Pennsylvania) Daniel and his friend were practicing their marksmanship by shooting at targets in a farm field. But instead of the usual choices of mice, bottles, or birds, they selected a more worthy adversary: electrical insulators.
These pear-shaped glass or plastic devices are intended to hold electrical wires aloft. But after the men shot six insulators off two utility poles, the shattered targets were no longer up to the job. A high-voltage wire fell to the ground and Daniel, attempting to prevent a serious fire, seized the sizzling wire in his hand, and was electrocuted.
An Allegheny Power spokesman advised people not to shoot at electrical insulators.
(November 2002, Belgium) A retired engineer booby-trapped his home with the intention of killing his estranged family, but died himself after inadvertently triggering one of his own devices.
At first, police assumed that the 79-year-old had committed suicide, as he was found alone with a bullet wound in his neck. Then a detective missed a bullet by inches when he opened a booby-trapped wooden chest. Police beat a hasty retreat from the property and called in military experts.
They deciphered an enigmatic series of scribbled clues to locate 19 death traps in walls, ceilings, and household objects. A pile of booby-trapped dinner plates was revealed by the clue, “Cheaper by the Dozen,” a reference to a film in which a child throws a plate at someone’s head. Police speculate that the the notes were intended to assist his failing memory.
Other traps included numerous concealed shotguns triggered by threads, and an exploding crate of beer set to detonate once a certain number of bottles were rmoved. It took three weeks to crack 19 of the 20 clues, and experts were forced to admit defeat on the final note: “The 12 Apostles are ready to work on the pebbles.” Said one, “We have never come across anything like it before. It was all fiendishly clever.”
True to form, the “fiendishly clever” but careless Darwin Award winner was described by neighbors as a taciturn but harmless man who enjoyed puttering in his garage. But relatives say he never forgave his wife for divorcing him twenty years before. Police believe he bagan installing the traps for four years, after losing a lengthy battle to keep his home.