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The 1999 Darwin Award Wannabes


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.


In Elyria, Ohio, 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.


Paul Stiller, 47, was hospitalized in Andover Township, N. J., and his wife Bonnie was also injured, by a quarter-stick of dynamite that blew up in their car. While driving around at 2 a.m., the bored couple lit the dynamite and tried to toss it out the window to see what would happen, but they apparently failed to notice that the window was closed.


Taking "Amateur Night" Too Far: In Betulia, Colombia, an annual carnival festival includes five days of amateur bullfighting. This year, no bull was killed, but dozens of matadors were injured, including one gored in the head and one Bobbittized. Said one participant, "It's just one bull against a town of a thousand morons."


TAOS, NM - A woman went to a poison control center after eating three birth-control vaginal inserts. Her English was so bad she had to draw a picture describing how she believed she had poisoned herself. A translator arrived shortly thereafter and confirmed doctors' suspicions. Marie Valishnokov thought the inserts were some kind of candy or gum, being unable to read the foil wrappers. After the third one, she realized something was wrong when her throat and mouth began to fill with a sour-tasting foam. She ran for the Poison Control Center, only a few blocks away where doctors were able to flush the foam from her mouth,throat and stomach with no ill effects


La Grange, GA - Attorney Antonio Mendoza was released from a trauma center after having a cell phone removed from his rectum. "My dog drags the thing all over the house," he said later. "He must have dragged it into the shower. I slipped on the tile, tripped against the dog and sat down right on the thing." The extraction took more than three hours due to the fact that the cover to Mr. Mendoza's phone had opened during insertion. "He was a real trooper during the entire episode," said Dr.Dennis Crobe. "Tony just cracked jokes and really seemed to be enjoying himself. Three times during the extraction his phone rang and each time, he made jokes about it that just had us rolling on the floor. By the time we finished, we really did expect to find an answering machine in there."


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 a.m. Upon arrival at the midpoint of the bridge they discovered that no one had brought 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 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.


AUGUSTA, ME - Four people were injured in a string of bizarre accidents. Sherry Moeller was admitted with a head wound caused by flying masonry, Tim Vegas was diagnosed with a mild case of whiplash and contusions on his chest, arms and face, Bryan Corcoran suffered torn gum tissue, and Pamela Klesick's first two fingers of her right hand had been bitten off.

The story unfolds as follows: Sherry Moeller had just dropped her husband off for his first day of work and, in addition to a good-bye kiss, she flashed her breasts at him. "I'm still not sure why I did it," Mrs. Moeller said later. "I was really close to the car, so I didn't think anyone would see. Besides, it couldn't have been for more than two seconds." However, cab driver Tim Vegas did see and lost control of his cab, running over the curb and into the corner of the Johnson Medical Building. Inside, Pamela Klesick, a dental technician, was cleaning Bryan Corcoran's teeth. The crash of the cab against the building making her jump, tearing Corcoran's gums with a cleaning pick. In shock, Corcoran bit down, severing two fingers from Klesick's hand. Meanwhile, Sherry Moeller ran to help Tim Vegas from the cab and was struck in the head and knocked unconscious by a falling piece of medical building masonry jarred loose by the crash.


This page was last updated January 1, 2004.