Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Two Darwin Award Entries

From the Roasting His Chestnuts file:

Nov. 24, 2003 | COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A teenager who locked himself out of the house tried to shimmy down the chimney. It didn’t work.

Battalion Chief Craig Mosley said firefighters got a call Sunday evening reporting a child stuck in a chimney. When they arrived, they found the youth stuck a few feet from the bottom.

Fire department spokeswoman Kelly McGuire identified the boy as 15-year-old Henry Golatt.

He was small enough to get most of the way down the chimney, which was about a foot wide. But the flue that opens into the house was only 8 inches across.

Mosley says firefighters considered cutting holes in the chimney or dismantling it, but decided on a less destructive approach. They lowered a rope from an aerial ladder and pulled Henry up very slowly.

He lost his pants on the trip up but only his dignity was hurt.

And then there’s this from the Famous Last Words of a Redneck, “Hey, guys, watch this!” category:

Nov. 24, 2003 | JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) — A bullet fired in the air during a Ku Klux Klan initiation ceremony came down and struck a participant in the head, critically injuring him, authorities said.

Gregory Allen Freeman, 45, was charged with aggravated assault and reckless endangerment in the Saturday night incident that wounded Jeffery S. Murr, 24.

About 10 people, including two children, had gathered for the ceremony. The man who was being initiated was blindfolded, tied with a noose to a tree and shot with paintball guns as Freeman fired a pistol in the air to provide the sound of real gunfire, Sheriff Fred Phillips said.

A bullet struck Murr on the top of the head and exited at the bottom of his skull, authorities said.

Freeman fled the ceremony but was arrested near his home, authorities said. He was released on $7,500 bail.