As you may know, the Darwin Awards go to
people who have done their best to remove themselves from the gene
pool. The last award is a beauty.
2004 Darwin Awards Nominees
This year's nine nominees are:
Nominee No. 1: [San Jose Mercury News]: An unidentified man, using a
shotgun like a club to break a former girlfriend's windshield,
accidentally shot himself to death when the gun discharged, blowing
a hole in his gut.
Nominee No. 2: [Kalamazoo Gazette]: James Burns, 34, (a mechanic) of
Alamo, MI, was killed in March as he was trying to repair what
police describe as a "farm-type truck." Burns got a friend
to drive the truck on a highway while Burns hung underneath so that
he could ascertain the source of a troubling noise. Burns' clothes
caught on something, however, and the other man found Burns
"wrapped in the drive shaft!"
Nominee No. 3: [Hickory Daily Record]: Ken Charles Barger, 47,
accidentally shot himself to death in December in Newton, NC.
Awakening to the sound of a ringing telephone beside his bed, he
reached for the phone but grabbed instead a Smith & Wesson 38
Special, which discharged when he drew it to his ear. (For whatever
reason, residents of Southern states always seem to figure
prominently among the Darwin nominees).
Nominee No. 4: [UPI, Toronto]: Police said a lawyer demonstrating
the safety of windows in a downtown Toronto skyscraper crashed
through a pane with his shoulder and plunged 24 floors to his death.
A police spokesman said Garry Hoy, 39, fell into the courtyard of
the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower early Friday evening as he was
explaining the strength of the building's windows to visiting law
students. He previously has conducted demonstrations of window
Nominee No. 5: [Bloomberg News Service]: A terrible diet and a room
with no ventilation are being blamed for the death of a man who was
killed by his own gas emissions. There was no mark on his body, and
an autopsy showed large amounts of methane gas in his system. His
diet had consisted primarily of beans and cabbage (and a couple of
other things) It was just the right combination of foods. It appears
that the man died in his sleep from breathing the poisonous cloud
that was hanging over his bed. Had he been outside or had his
windows been opened, it wouldn't have been fatal. But the man was
shut up in his nearly-airtight bedroom. According to the article,
"He was a big man with a huge capacity for creating this deadly
gas." Three of the rescuers got sick, and one was hospitalized.
Nominee No. 6: [The News of the Weird]: Michael Anderson Godwin made
News of the Weird posthumously. He had spent several years awaiting
South Carolina's electric chair on a murder conviction before having
his sentence reduced to life in prison. While sitting on a metal
toilet in his cell attempting to fix his small TV set, he bit into a
wire and was electrocuted. (South Carolina entrants are always
Nominee No. 7: [The Indianapolis Star]: A cigarette lighter may have
triggered a fatal explosion in Dunkirk, IN. A Jay County man, using
a cigarette lighter to check the barrel of a muzzle-loader, was
killed Monday night when the weapon discharged in his face,
sheriff's investigators said.
Gregory David Pryor, 19, died in his parents' rural Dunkirk home at
about 11:30 PM. Investigators said Pryor was cleaning a 54-caliber
muzzle-loader that had not been firing properly. He was using the
lighter to look into the barrel when the gun powder ignited!
Nominee No. 8: [Reuters, Mississauga, Ontario]: A man cleaning a
bird feeder on the balcony of his condominium apartment in this
Toronto suburb slipped and fell 23 stories to his death. Stefan
Macko, 55, was standing on a wheeled chair when the accident
occurred, said Inspector D'Arcy Honer of the Peel Regional Police.
"It appears that the chair moved, and he went over the
balcony," Honer said. (Another Ontario entry.... I wonder if
people are moving there from the Maritime Provinces.)
Finally the Winner !!!!!
[Arkansas Democrat Gazette]: Two local men were injured when their
pickup truck left the road and struck a tree near Cotton Patch on
State Highway 38 early Monday. Woodruff County deputy Dovey Snyder
reported the accident shortly after midnight Monday. Thurston Poole,
33, of Des Arc, and Billy Ray Wallis, 38, of Little Rock, were
returning to Des Arc after a frog-gigging trip. On an overcast
Sunday night, Poole's pickup truck headlights malfunctioned. The two
men concluded that the headlight fuse on the older-model truck had
burned out. As a replacement fuse was not available, Wallis noticed
that the .22 caliber bullet from his pistol fit perfect into the
fuse box next to the steering-wheel column. Upon inserting the
bullet the headlights again began to operate properly, and the two
men proceeded on eastbound toward the White River Bridge. After
traveling approximately 20 miles, and just before crossing the
river, the bullet apparently overheated, discharged, and struck
Poole in the testicles. The vehicle swerved sharply right, exiting
the pavement, and striking a tree. Poole suffered only minor cuts
and abrasions from the accident, but will require extensive surgery
to repair the damage to his testicles, which will never operate as
intended Wallis sustained a broken clavicle and was treated and
"Thank God we weren't on that bridge when Thurston shot his
balls off, or we might both be dead," stated Wallis.
"I've been a trooper for 10 years in this part of the world,
but this is a first for me. I can't believe that those two would
admit how this accident happened," said Snyder.
Upon being notified of the wreck, Lavinia (Poole's wife) asked how
many frogs the boys had caught and did anyone get them from the
Though Poole and Wallis did not die as a result of their
misadventure as normally required by Darwin Award Official Rules, it
can be argued that Poole DID, in fact, effectively remove himself
from the gene pool.