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Stranger than Fiction
1997 Darwin Award winners
The results have been tabulated. Here are this year's Darwin
Awards... (aka The Academy Awards of the Terminally Stupid)
THE DARWIN AWARDS are given every year to bestow upon (the remains of)
those individuals, who through single-minded self-sacrifice, have done
the most to remove undesirable elements from the human gene pool. Here
are some current candidates:
5th Runner Up:
A San Anselmo, California man died yesterday when he hit a lift tower
at the Mammoth Mountain ski area while riding down the slope on a foam
pad, authorities said. Matthew David Hubal, 22, was pronounced dead
at Centinela Mammoth Hospital. The accident occurred about 3 a.m.,
the Mono County Sheriff's Department said. Hubal and his friends
apparently had hiked up a ski run called Stump Alley and undid some
yellow foam protectors from the lift towers, said Lieutenant Mike
Donnelly of the Mammoth Lakes Police Department. The pads are used to
protect skiers who might hit the towers. The group apparently used
the pads to slide down the ski slope and Hubal crashed into a tower.
It has since been investigated that the tower he hit was the one with
its pad removed.
4th Runner Up:
Robert Puelo, 32, was apparently being disorderly in a St. Louis
market. When the clerk threatened to call police, Puelo grabbed a hot
dog, shoved it in his mouth, and walked out without paying for it.
Police found him unconscious in front of the store: paramedics removed
the six-inch wiener from his throat, where it had choked him to death.
3rd Runner Up:
To poacher Marino Malerba of Spain, who shot a stag standing above him
on an overhanging rock-and was killed instantly when it fell on him.
2nd Runner Up:
Man Loses Face at Party. A man at a West Virginia party popped a
blasting cap into his mouth and bit down, triggering an explosion that
blew off his lips, teeth and tongue, state police said Wednesday.
Jerry Stromyer, 24, of Kincaid, bit the blasting cap as a prank during
a party late Tuesday night, said Cpl. M.D. Payne. "Another man had it
in an aquarium, hooked to a battery, and was trying to explode it,"
Payne said. "It wouldn't go off and this guy said, "I'll show you how
to set it off." "He put it in his mouth and bit down. It blew all his
teeth off, his tongue and his lips," Payne said. Stromyer was listed
in guarded condition Wednesday with extensive facial injuries,
according to a spokesman at Charleston Area Medical Division. "I just
can't imagine anyone doing something like that," Payne said.
1st Runner Up:
Doctors at Portland's University Hospital said an Oregon man shot
through the skull by a hunting arrow is lucky to be alive, and will be
released soon from the hospital. Tony Roberts, 25, lost his right eye
last weekend during an initiation into a men's rafting club, Mountain
Men Anonymous, in Grants Pass, Ore. A friend tried to shoot a beer
can off his head, but the arrow entered Roberts' right eye. Doctors
said had the arrow gone 1 millimeter to the left, a major blood vessel
would have been cut and Roberts would have died instantly.
Neurosurgeon Dr. Johnny Delashaw at the University Hospital in
Portland said the arrow went through 8 to 10 inches of brain, with the
tip protruding at the rear of his skull, yet somehow managed to miss
all major blood vessels. Delashaw also said had Robert tried to pull
the arrow out on his own he surely would have killed himself. Robert
admitted afterwards he and his friends had been drinking that
afternoon. Said Roberts, "I feel so dumb about this." No charges
have been filed but the Josephine County district attorney's office
said the initiation stunt is under investigation.
Last year's winner was the fellow who was killed when he attached a
JATO (Jet Assisted Take Off) unit to his Chevy Impala and promptly
shot himself at 300 mph into the side of a desert cliff.
(The late) John Pernicky and his friend, (the late) Sal Hawkins, of
the great state of Washington, who decided to attend a local Metallica
concert at the Amphitheater at Gorge, Washington.
Having no tickets (but 18 beers among them) they thought it would be
easy enough to hop over the nine-foot high fence and sneak into the
show. The two friends pulled their pickup truck over to the fence and
the plan was for John -100 pounds heavier than Sal - to hop over, and
then assist his friend over the fence. Unfortunately for John, there
was a 30 foot drop on the other side of the fence. Having heaved
himself over, he found himself crashing through a tree. His fall was
abruptly halted by a large branch which snagged him by his shorts.
Dangling from the tree, with one arm broken, John looked down and saw
a group of bushes below him. Possibly figuring the bushes would break
his fall, John removed his pocket knife and proceeded to cut away his
shorts to free himself from the tree. Finally free, John crashed
below into Holly bushes. The sharp leaves scratched his entire body
and now being without his shorts, he was the unwilling victim of a
holly branch penetrating his rectal cavity. To make matters worse,
his pocket knife proceeded to fall with him and landed three inches
into his left thigh.
Seeing his friend in considerable pain and agony, Sal decided to throw
him a rope and pull him to safety by tying the rope to the pickup
truck and slowly driving away. However, in his drunken state, Sal put
the truck into reverse rather than first, and crashed through the
fence, landing on and killing his friend. Sal was thrown from the
truck, suffered massive internal injuries and died at the scene.
Police arrived to find a pickup truck with its driver thrown 100 feet
from the truck. Upon moving the truck, they found John under it, half
naked, with scratches, a holly stick up his rectum, a knife in his
thigh, and his shorts dangling from the tree branches 25 feet in the