Odds & Ends
Dateline: England—A British man has been arrested for drunk driving after being caught in the driver’s seat of a small, battery-powered Barbie car. Paul Hutton, 40, was spotted—hands on the wheel, knees tucked up under his chin—by a police patrol car in Essex, in the southeastern part of the country. According to The Sun, Hutton admitted in Colchester Magistrates’ Court to being a “complete twit.” Hutton, who was found to be over the legal limit, was banned from driving for three years as a result of the incident. “I was very surprised to get done for drink-driving, but I was a twit to say the least.” The former Royal Air Force aeronautical engineer had modified the 2-foot-high, pink plastic Jeep with his son as part of a college project. It has a top speed of 6 kilometers per hour. Speaking after the hearing, Hutton said, “You have to be a contortionist to get in, and then you can’t get out.” Hutton was allegedly driving the kiddie car to a friend’s house to show off his work when he was pulled over.
Dateline: Australia—Penguin Group Australia has been forced to reprint thousands of cookbooks after an embarrassing typo left the company branded as racist. A recipe for spelt tagliatelle in the recently published Pasta Bible calls for “salt and freshly ground black people.” The original recipe actually called for “freshly ground black pepper.” Bob Sessions, head of publishing for Penguin Group Australia, told the Sydney Morning Herald, “We’re mortified that this has become an issue of any kind and why anyone would be offended, we don’t know.” Sessions admitted that proofreaders should have caught the error, but called it a “silly mistake.” The company said it would reprint 7,000 of the books at a cost of nearly $20,000. However, editions already in stores will not be recalled. “We’ve said to bookstores that if anyone is small-minded enough to complain about this ... we will happily replace [the book] for them.”
Dateline: Oklahoma—A group of high school students had to find their own way home from prom after the limousine they rented got repossessed out from under them. Landon Wiland and his friends rented the vehicle from Galaxy Limos in Jenks, a suburb of Tulsa. The tux-and-gown-clad group had just stepped out of the vehicle at the Oklahoma Aquarium when it sped off. Wiland assumed the limo was being carjacked because, as he told KTUL-8 news, “Our driver was standing next to us.” Several onlookers called 911 and one vehicle actually followed the limo. Eventually, police determined that the limo had been repossessed rather than stolen. Galaxy Limo owner Jim Nicolotti said the whole incident was a “miscommunication” between his bank and the repo company, Chamras Asset Recovery Specialists. Nicolotti said he and his lender had worked out their issues, but the bank forgot to tell CARS to cancel the repo job. The students weren’t left entirely high and dry. Several had already parked their cars at the aquarium and were able to get home on their own. Nicolotti has offered a partial refund or a free future rental to the inconvenienced customers.
Dateline: Indiana—An ex-con wanted on a drug-manufacturing warrant went to extremes to avoid capture, playing hide-and-seek with police in a vat of liquid manure. According to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, the Noble County Special Operations Group raided a farm near the town of Albion, where 52-year-old Thomas Hovis Jr. was living with his girlfriend. Hovis fled to a pig barn on the property. Police tried to call Hovis out and eventually launched two tear gas grenades into the building. After an exhaustive search turned up nothing, a sharp-eyed officer spotted Hovis’ head poking out from a sunken cesspool. Officers removed the metal grate over the manure tank and tried to pull Hovis out, but he resisted and had to be tasered. Chief Deputy Doug Harp of the Noble County Sheriff’s Department told the Journal Gazette he was unsure how long Hovis had been hiding in the manure pit but suspected it was about an hour. Hovis had been immersed in the frigid pool of poo for so long that his body temperature dropped dangerously low and he showed signs of hypothermia. Immediately after arresting the man, officers debated who would have to take him to the hospital. Steuben County deputies had the original arrest warrant, but argued that since three meth labs, 18 marijuana plants, 3 grams of meth and various weapons were found on the farm in Noble Country that those officers should take him. Unfortunately, Noble’s charges couldn’t be drawn up until after Hovis was released from the hospital. A Steuben deputy got stuck transporting the feculent fugitive. “I have seen people hide in baby cribs and crawl spaces. ... I have never seen anybody hide in a liquid manure pit,” Harp said. “That’s a first.”