Odds & Ends
Ionia County District Court Judge Raymond Voet has a no-tolerance policy when it comes to electronic devices causing a disturbance in his courtroom. So when a smartphone went off during a prosecutor’s closing arguments earlier this month, Voet quickly fined the culprit $25 for contempt—even though it was his own phone. Judge Voet told Ionia’s Sentinel-Standard, “I’m guessing I bumped it. It started talking really loud, saying ‘I can’t understand you. Say something like Mom.’” Voet said he had used a Blackberry mobile phone for years, but recently switched over to a touchscreen, Windows-based phone and was unfamiliar with its operation. “That’s an excuse,” admitted Voet. “But I don’t take those excuses from anyone else.” During a break in the trial, Voet found himself in contempt of court and paid the $25 fine. “I broke the rule and I have to live by it,” he told the newspaper.
Authorities in Temecula say 19-year-old Jeremiah Hartline stole a semi tractor-trailer from a weigh station on Interstate 15 and drove it several miles before crashing into a Toyota Tacoma—all because he claims zombies were chasing him. Investigators told the Press-Enterprise in Riverside that Hartline struck two other cars before losing control of the truck, flipping it over on its side and blocking all four northbound lanes of the interstate. Hartline then climbed into a nearby van and demanded a ride, but the driver pulled him out of the vehicle and held him until police arrived. A California Highway Patrol spokesperson said Hartline denied being behind the wheel of the semi and had a perfectly logical explanation for his behavior. “He said zombies were chasing him and he had to get out of there,” said the spokesperson, who also confirmed that Hartline “swerved the truck side to side to shake the zombies off.” Police believe an “illicit substance” caused Harline to hallucinate.
Seattle police say a naked man in a wheelchair has been charged with shoplifting. Officers were called to a QFC grocery store just after 6:20 a.m. on Friday, April 12, on a report of a man causing a disturbance. According to KOMO-TV, the officers arrived to find the suspect in the produce aisle wearing nothing but a pile of cherry tomatoes over his genitals. The man, who has numerous previous arrests for shoplifting, admitted he had already been banned from the store. After his arrest, the man was found to be concealing a still-frozen Jimmy Dean sausage sandwich. No word on where the naked suspect hid that item.
Dateline: New Jersey
An 18-year-old has been sentenced in a federal court in Newark on charges of theft of a motor vehicle by force, violence and intimidation—even though the teenager was unable to drive the vehicle in question. The Star-Ledger in Newark reports Anthony Reynolds pleaded guilty last September to the charges. He admitted in court he was a passenger in a stolen BMW when it pulled up behind a 2008 Porsche 911 Turbo in Newark. Reynolds said he got out of the BMW, flashed his .38-caliber handgun at the driver of the Porsche and ordered him out of the vehicle. The Porsche owner ran away and flagged down a police officer. Reynolds tried to get away in the turbo sports car, but was unable to operate the car’s six-speed manual transmission. After stalling out the car, Reynolds attempted to flee on foot, but was caught by police. On April 15, he was sentenced to 55 months in jail for the embarrassingly unsuccessful carjacking.
A police officer had what is being described as a “severe break in judgment” after he apparently pulled his service weapon on a McDonald’s customer who was taking too long to receive his order. Scott Biumi, a 48-year-old detective sergeant with the DeKalb County Police Department, was in the drive-thru at a McDonald’s in Forsyth County when he reportedly became impatient with the truck in front of him. “We were waiting on them to cook the food. And the cop—I didn’t know at first that he was a cop—pulled up behind us and waited about two minutes, two to three minutes,” high school senior Ryan Mash, who was driving the Ford F-150 pickup in front of Biumi, told WXIA-11 TV. “He got out and started yelling at us, ‘Stop holding up the drive-thru line!’” After informing Mash, “You don’t know who you’re messing with,” witnesses say Biumi pulled out his handgun. “He pulled the gun and put it, pointed it at, like, my neck area,” recalled Mash. At the time, Biumi was off-duty and wearing plain clothes, but one of Mash’s passengers spotted a police badge attached to his belt. Biumi was eventually arrested at his home and charged with felony aggravated assault. “It appears that he had a severe break in judgment,” said Forsyth County Sheriff Duane Piper. “The entire situation evolved from him being angry at the time it was taking for him to get his food.”
Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. Email your weird news to firstname.lastname@example.org.