Monday, June 23, 2008

2006 Darwin Awards

You can't believe everything in the emails you get. My brother sent me this supposed 2008 Darwin Awards list and I decided to check it out on Snopes before posting it. None of these incidents occurred in 2006. But of the nine entries, only four are false.

8th Place
In Detroit , a 41-year-old man got stuck and drowned in two feet of water after squeezing head first through an 18-inch-wide sewer grate to retrieve his car keys.

Snopes Sez: True, his name was Ray Langston who died under these exact circumstances in Detroit on 28 SEP 96.

7th Place
A 49-year-old San Francisco stockbroker, who 'totally zoned when he ran,' accidentally, jogged off a 100-foot high cliffon his daily run.

Snopes Sez: True, he was a San Francisco stokebroker named Jack Sullivan who died under these circumstances in 1996.

6th Place
While at the beach, Daniel Jones, 21, dug an 8 foot hole forprotection from the wind and had been sitting in a beach chairat the bottom! When it collapsed, burying him beneath 5 feet of sand. People on the beach used their hands and shovels trying to get him out but could not reach him. It took rescue workers using heavy equipment almost an hour to free him. Jones was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Snopes Sez: True, his name was indeed Daniel Jones and he lived in Woodbridge, VA. He died on
7 Aug 97.

5th Place
Santiago Alvarado, 24, was killed as he fell through the ceiling of a bicycle shop he was burglarizing. Death was caused when the long flashlight he had placed in his mouth to keep his hands free rammed into the base of his skull as he hit thefloor.

Snopes Sez: This first showed up in 1997 and cannot be verified.

4th Place
Sylvester Briddell, Jr., 26, was killed as he won a bet with friends who said he would not put a revolver loaded with four bullets into his mouth and pull the trigger.

Snopes Sez: This also showed up in 1997 and has never been verified. But there is a Social Security death record that corresponds to the same name, age, sex and race of a man who died in Maryland on 26 FEB 97.

3rd Place
After stepping around a marked police patrol car parked at the front door, a man walked into H&J Leather & Firearms intent on robbing the store. The shop was full of customers and a uniformed officer was standing at the counter. Upon seeing the officer, the would-be robber announced a hold-up and fired a few wild shots from a target pistol. The officer and a clerk promptly returned fire, and several customers also drew their guns and fired. The robber was pronounced dead at the scene by Paramedics. Crime scene investigators located 47 expended cartridge cases in the shop. The subsequent autopsy revealed 23 gunshot wounds. Ballistics identified rounds from 7 different weapons. No one else was hurt.

Snopes Sez: True, the idiot's name was David Zaback and he attempted to rob a Reston, WA, gunshop (near Seattle) on 3 FEB 90. Zaback was mortally wounded by a uniformed police officer and the store clerk - who shot him three times in the chest and once in the arm. No one else fired though apparently everyone in the crowded shop who had a gun cleared leather. Zaback was carrying a .38 cal revolver and fired three times. One of the shots hit a box of ammo and set off multiple rounds inside the shop. A merry time was had by all.

Paul Stiller, 47, and his wife Bonnie were bored just driving around at 2 A.M. so they lit a quarter stick of dynamite to toss out the window to see what would happen. Apparently they failed to notice the window was closed.

Snopes Sez: True, their names are as reported and they nearly blew themselves up on 30 SEP 96. Both survived. Police found more dynamite at their home.

Kerry Bingham had been drinking with several friends when one of them said they knew a person who had bungee-jumped from a local bridge in the middle of traffic. The conversation grew more heated and at least 10 men trooped along the walkway of the bridge at 4:30 A.M. Upon arrival at the midpoint of the bridge they discovered that no one had brought a bungee rope. Bingham, who had continued drinking, volunteered and pointed out that a coil of lineman's cable, lay near by. They secured one end around Bingham's leg and then tied the other to the bridge. His fall lasted 40 feet before the cable tightened and tore his foot off at the ankle. He miraculously survived his fall into the icy water and was rescued by two nearby fishermen. Bingham's foot was never located.

Snopes Sez: This story cannot be verifed, it was first written in 1995 by someone named Edward Martin III.

Zookeeper Friedrich Riesfeldt ( Paderborn , Germany ) fed his constipated elephant 22 doses of animal laxative and more than a bushel of berries, figs and prunes before the plugged-up pachyderm finally got relief. Investigators say ill-fated Friedrich, 46, was attempting to give the ailing elephant an olive oil enema when the relieved beast unloaded. The sheerf orce of the elephant's unexpected defecation knocked Mr.Riesfeldt to the ground where he struck his head on a rock as the elephant continued to evacuate 200 pounds of dung on top of him. It seems to be just one of those freak accidents that proves... 'Shit happens'

Snopes Sez: This story first showed up in 1998 and has never been verified.

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