Darwin Award Candidates:
1. In September 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.
2. In October, a 49-year-old San Francisco stockbroker, who
"totally zoned when he ran," accidentally jogged off a
100-foot-high cliff on his daily run.
3. Buxton, NC: A man died on a beach when an 8-foot-deep hole he
had dug into the sand caved in as he sat inside it. Beach goers
said Daniel Jones, 21, dug the hole for fun, or protection from
the wind, and had been sitting in a beach chair at the bottom
Thursday afternoon when it collapsed, burying him beneath 5 feet
of sand. People on the beach, on the outer banks, used their hands
and shovels, trying to claw their way to Jones, a resident of
Woodbridge, VA, but could not reach him. It took rescue workers
using heavy equipment almost an hour to free him while about 200
people looked on. Jones was pronounced dead at a hospital.
4. In February, Santiago Alvarado, 24, was killed in Lompoc, CA,
as he fell face-first through the ceiling of 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 the floor.
5. According to police in Dahlonega, GA, ROTC cadet Nick Berrena,
20, was stabbed to death in January by fellow cadet Jeffrey
Hoffman, 23, who was trying to prove that a knife could not
penetrate the flak vest Berrena was wearing.
6. Sylvester Briddell, Jr, 26, was killed in February in
Selbyville, Del, 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.
7. In February, according to police in Windsor, Ontario, Daniel
Kolta, 27, and Randy Taylor, 33, died in a head-on collision, thus
earning a tie in the game of chicken they were playing with their
Darwin Award Honorable Mentions:
1. In Guthrie, Okla, in October, Jason Heck tried to kill a
millipede with a shot from his 22 caliber rifle, but the bullet
ricocheted off a rock near the hole and hit pal Antonio Martinez
in the head, fracturing his skull.
2. In Elyria, Ohio, in October, Martyn Eskins, attempting to clean
out cobwebs in his basement, declined to use a broom in favor of a
propane torch and caused a fire that burned the first and second
floors of his house.
3. Paul Stiller, 47, was hospitalized in Andover Township, NJ, and
his wife Bonnie was also injured, when a quarter-stick of dynamite
blew up in their car. While driving around at 2 AM, the bored
couple lit the dynamite and tried to toss it out the window to see
what would happen, but apparently failed to notice the window was
Darwin Award Runner Up:
TACOMA, WA - Kerry Bingham, had been drinking with several friends
when one of them said they knew a person who had bungee-jumped
from the Tacoma Narrows 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 am. 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 nearby. One end of the
cable was secured around Bingham's leg and the other end was tied
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 river water and was rescued by two nearby
fishermen. "All I can say," said Bingham, "is that
God was watching out for me on that night. There's just no other
explanation for it." Bingham's foot was never located.
And The Darwin Award Winner:
PADERBORN, GERMANY - Overzealous zookeeper Friedrich Riesfeldt fed
his constipated elephant, Stefan, 22 doses of animal laxative and
more than a bushel of berries, figs and prunes before the
plugged-up pachyderm finally let fly-and suffocated the keeper
under 200 pounds of poop! Investigators say ill-fated Friedrich,
46, was attempting to give the ailing elephant an olive oil enema
when the relieved beast unloaded on him. "The sheer force of
the elephant's unexpected defecation knocked Mr. Riesfeldt to the
ground, where he struck his head on a rock and lay unconscious as
the elephant continued to evacuate his bowels on top of him,"
said flabbergasted Paderborn police detective Erik Dern.
"With no one there to help him, he lay under all that dung
for at least an hour before a watchman came along, and during that
time he suffocated. "It seems to be just one of those freak
accidents that happen.