Here are the last year(s) winners:
You may recall last year's Darwin Award winner: The man who found out moments before making a 300 MPH dent in an Arizona cliff that the JATO (jet assist take off) unit he'd strapped to his car could not be turned off once it was turned on.Here are the nominees for 1998:
And 1994's winner was the fellow who was killed by a Coke machine which toppled on top of him as he was attempting to tip a free soda out of it.
NOMINEE #1 [San Jose Mercury News]AND THE NEWEST CANDIDATES:
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 #2 [Kalamazoo Gazette, 4-1-95]
James Burns, 34, of Alamo, Michigan, was killed in March as he was trying to repair what police described 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 #3 [Reuters, Mississauga, Ontario]
Man slips, falls 23 stories to his death. 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, police said Monday. Stefan Macko, 55, was standing on a wheeled chair Sunday when the accident occurred, said Inspector D'Arcy Honer of the Peel regional police. "It appears the chair moved and he went over the balcony," Honer said. "It's one of those freak accidents. No foul play is suspected."
NOMINEE #4 [Hickory, Daily Record 12/21/92]
Ken Charles Barger, 47, accidentally shot himself to death in December in Newton, N.C., when, 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.
NOMINEE #5 [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. Hoy previously had conducted demonstrations of window strength according to police reports. Peter Lauwers, managing partner of the firm Holden Day Wilson, told the Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy was "one of the best and brightest" members of the 200-man association.
NOMINEE #6 [AP, Cairo, Egypt, 31 Aug 1995 CAIRO, Egypt (AP)]
Six people drowned Monday while trying to rescue a chicken that had fallen into a well in southern Egypt. An 18-year-old farmer was the first to descend into the 60-foot well. He drowned, apparently after an undercurrent in the water pulled him down, police said. His sister and two brothers, none of whom could swim well, went in one by one to help him, but also drowned. Two elderly farmers then came to help, but they apparently were pulled by the same undercurrent. The bodies of the six were later pulled out of the well in the village of Nazlat Imara, 240 miles south of Cairo. The chicken was also pulled out. It survived.
NOMINEE #7 [Bloomburg News Service, 25 March]
A terrible diet and room with no ventilation are being blamed for the death of a man who was killed by his own gas. There was no mark on his body but 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 near airtight bedroom. 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 #8 [18 May 93, San Jose Mercury News]
A 24-year-old salesman from Hialeah, Fla., was killed near Lantana, Fla., in March when his car smashed into a pole in the median strip of Interstate 95 in the middle of the afternoon. Police said that the man was traveling at 80 MPH and, judging by the sales manual that was found open and clutched to his chest, had been busy reading.
NOMINEE #9 [1/29/96 The News of the weird.]
Michael Anderson Godwin made News of the Weird posthumously in 1989. He had spent several years awaiting South Carolina's electric chair on a murder conviction before having his sentence reduced to life in prison. In March 1989, sitting on a metal toilet in his cell and attempting to fix his small TV set, he bit into a wire and was electrocuted.
On Jan. 1, 1997, Laurence Baker, also a convicted murderer once on death row, but later serving a life sentence at the state prison in Pittsburgh, Pa., was electrocuted by his homemade earphones as he watched his small TV while sitting on his metal toilet.
NOMINEE #10 ["The Indianapolis Star", Wed., Dec. 4, 1996].
Cigarette lighter may have triggered fatal explosion Dunkirk, Indiana. A Jay County man using a cigarette lighter to check the barrel of a muzzleloader 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 about 11:30 p.m. Investigators said Pryor was cleaning a .54-caliber muzzleloader that had not been firing properly. He was using the lighter to look into the barrel when the gunpowder ignited.
NOMINEE #11 [AP, Mammoth Lakes]
A San Anselmo 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 was not clear if the tower he hit was one with its pad removed. "With the cold temperatures, the snow was probably pretty fast," said Donnelly.
NOMINEE #12 -
A poacher electrocuting fish in a lake in central Poland fell into the water and suffered the same fate as his quarry, police said Thursday. The 24-year-old man was one of four who went fishing with a cable, one end of which they attached to a net and the other to a high-voltage electricity supply line, the PAP news agency quoted a police official in Wloclawek as saying. "For a while everything went according to the poachers' plan and they had fish in their bags. But at a certain moment the man holding the net tripped and fell into the water," the agency said. The other poachers tried in vain to revive him, it said.
NOMINEE 13 [Unknown]
To poacher Marino Malerba, who shot a stag standing above him on an overhanging rock -- and was killed instantly when it fell on him.
NOMINEE 14 [Associated Press, Kincaid, W. VA]
Blasting Cap Explodes in Man's Mouth at Party. A man at a 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.
John Pernicky and friend Sal Hawkins, of the great state of Washington, decided to attend a local Metallica concert at the Amphitheater at Gorge, Washington. Having no tickets, but 18 beers among them they sat in the parking lot and after finishing the beer, decided that 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, the Fence was a 30 foot drop on the other side. Having heaved himself over he found himself crashing through a tree, falling to the ground. His fall was abruptly stopped by a large branch which had been snagged by his shorts. Dangling from the tree, with one arm broken, John looked down and saw a group of bushes below him. Figuring the bushes would break his fall, John removed his pocket knife and proceed to cut away his shorts to free himself from the tree. When finally free, John crashed below into holly bushes, The sharp leaves scratched his whole 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. However, weighing about 100 pounds less, he decided the best course of action would be to tie the rope to the pickup truck.Folks, these are only a few. To get the real story, point yer browsers here.
This is when things went really bad.
Sal in his drunken state, put the truck into the wrong gear, and proceeded to press on the gas and crash 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 vehicle and, upon moving the truck, a half naked man with numerous scratches, a holly stick up his butt, a knife in his thigh and a pair of shorts dangling from the trees 25 feet in the air.
Two gentlemen decided to go fishing using small explosives (M-something or other) equivalent to 1/4 stick of dynamite. Well, while out in their boat one of them lit an explosive and tossed it into the water. At the same time the wind picked up and blew the explosive up against the side of the boat. The explosive proceeded to blow a hole in the vessel and it promptly sank. One man was able to swim to shore and the other drowned. Whether the deceased was the one who so brilliantly tossed the bomb into the wind was, unfortunately, not stated.
-- In rural Carbon County, PA, a group of men were drinking beer and discharging firearms from the rear deck of a home owned by Irving Michaels, age 27. The men were firing at a raccoon that was wandering by, but the beer apparently impaired their aim and, despite of the estimated 35 shots the group fired, the animal escaped into a 3 foot diameter drainage pipe some 100 feet away from Mr. Michaels' deck. Determined to terminate the animal, Mr. Michaels retrieved a can of gasoline and poured some down the pipe, intending to smoke the animal out. After several unsuccessful attempts to ignite the fuel, Michaels emptied the entire 5 gallon fuel can down the pipe and tried to ignite it again, to no avail. Not one to admit defeat by wildlife, the determined Mr. Michaels proceeded to slide feet-first approximately 15 feet down the sloping pipe to toss the match. The subsequent rapidly expanding fireball propelled Mr. Michaels back the way he had come, though at a much higher rate of speed. He exited the angled pipe "like a Polaris missile leaves a submarine," according to witness Joseph McFadden, 31. Mr. Michaels was launched directly over his own home, right over the heads of his astonished friends, onto his front lawn. In all, he traveled over 200 feet through the air. "There was a Doppler Effect to his scream as he flew over us," McFadden reported, "Followed by a loud thud." Amazingly, he suffered only minor injuries. "It was actually pretty cool," Michaels said, "Like when they shoot someone out of a cannon at the circus. I'd do it again if I was sure I wouldn't get hurt."
[Editor's Note: As Mr. Michaels survived, he is therefore ineligible for inclusion, and his escapade is listed here only for the amusement of the reader.]
-- Los Angeles, CA. Ani Saduki, 33, and his brother decided to remove a bee's nest from a shed on their property with the aid of a "pineapple." A pineapple is an illegal firecracker which is the explosive equivalent of one-half stick of dynamite. They ignited the fuse and retreated to watch from inside their home, behind a window some 10 feet away from the hive/shed. The concussion of the explosion shattered the window inwards, seriously lacerating Ani. Deciding Mr. Saduki needed stitches, the brothers headed out to go to a nearby hospital. While walking towards their car, Ian was stung three times by the surviving bees. Unbeknownst to either brother, Ani was allergic to bee venom, and died of suffocation en route to the hospital.
-- Derrick L. Richards, 28, was charged in April in Minneapolis with third-degree murder in the death of his beloved cousin, Kenneth E. Richards. According to police, Derrick suggested a game of Russian roulette and put a semiautomatic pistol (instead of the more traditional revolver) to Ken's head and fired.
-- Phillipsburg, NJ. An unidentified 29 year old male choked to death on a sequined pastie he had orally removed from an exotic dancer at a local establishment. "I didn't think he was going to eat it," the dancer identified only as "Ginger" said, adding "He was really drunk."
-- Kerry Bingham had been drinking with several friends when one of them said they knew a person who had bungee-jumped from the Middle of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. 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 pulled his foot off at the ankle. He miraculously survived his fall into the frigid waters of the Tacoma Narrows and Puget Sound 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 severed foot was never located. [Editor's Note: Again, no death, no award. But what an idiot, eh?]
-- A drunk security man asked a colleague at the Moscow bank they were guarding to stab his bullet-proof vest to see if it would protected him against a knife attack. It didn't, and the 25-year-old guard died of a heart wound. [Editor's Note: It's good to see the Russians getting into the spirit of the Darwin Awards. Far too many are American.]
-- Jacques LeFevrier left nothing to chance when he decided to commit suicide. He stood at the top of a tall cliff and tied a noose around his neck. He tied the other end of the rope to a large rock. He drank some poison and set fire to his clothes. He even tried to shoot himself at the last moment. He jumped and fired the pistol. The bullet missed him completely and cut through the rope above him. Free of the threat of hanging, he plunged into the sea. The sudden dunking extinguished the flames and made him vomit the poison. He was dragged out of the water by a kind fisherman and was taken to the hospital, where he died of hypothermia.