Odds & Ends

Devin D. O'Leary
5 min read
(Eric J. Garcia)
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Dateline: Germany– A Frankfurt man survived a 25-foot plunge down an elevator shaft when he fell on a woman who had tumbled down the same shaft a day earlier. Jen Wilhelms, 27, was unhurt after landing on the 57-year-old woman. He managed to free himself from the elevator shaft, located in his apartment building, and called rescue services. The woman was taken to a nearby hospital where doctors reported her in critical condition. Police spokesperson Manfred Vonhausen said, “The woman had been lying unconscious in the shaft for some time already. Although it made her injuries worse, it also probably saved her life that he fell on her as it meant he knew she was there and managed to get help.” Wilhelms said he had slipped as he walked past the elevator shaft, which had been left open while it was undergoing repairs. “I saw the door open and I just wanted to check whether somebody was finally working on the elevator,” said Wilhelms. “I took a closer look inside the shaft as it was pitch black and must have slipped off the edge somehow.” Rescue workers said that without her klutzy rescuer, the woman would have died from internal bleeding.

Dateline: Scotland– A bald high school teacher lost a bid to declare himself disabled after a judge ruled that a lack of hair does not constitute a disability. Former art teacher James Campbell told the U.K. newspaper The Independent he was discriminated against by students at Denny High School who called him “baldy.” Campbell retired in 2007 and has since taken his Scottish local council to an employment tribunal, seeking disability payments. “How can I stand in front of a class with confidence to get on with my job when I am getting teased and bullied about baldness?” Mr. Campbell told the tribunal. Tribunal judge Robert Gall eventually ruled that being bald was not covered by the Disability Discrimination Act. “This would take the definition of impairment too far,” Mr. Gall said.

Dateline: New York– A habitual traffic offender capped off his trip to jail by paying his $500 bail with counterfeit money. Cyheam Forney started out by making an illegal left turn in front of a Suffolk County police sergeant. After being pulled over, Forney, 31, failed to produce identification and gave the officer a fake name. It turned out that Forney’s license has been suspended 35 times. He was taken to a precinct house in Huntington and offered a $500 bail, which he proceeded to pay in counterfeit bills. He was arraigned last Friday in First District Count in Central Islip and held on a $5,000 bail for felony possession of a forged instrument.

Dateline: California– A California man has been found guilty of being in possession of endangered iguanas that he smuggled out of the South Pacific–in his hollow prosthetic leg. A Los Angeles jury acquitted Jereme James of smuggling charges but convicted him of concealing and possessing four neon-striped iguanas after they were seized last year at his home. James admitted he stuffed the Fiji Island banded iguanas into his prosthetic limb while visiting the South Pacific in 2002. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Dateline: Utah– Pay close attention to this one: A South Salt Lake man has been charged in a drug case in which a 5-year-old boy tested positive for cocaine when a woman, pretending to be a man, used the boy’s urine to cheat on a drug screening. The Salt Lake Tribune reports the woman, posing as a man, called authorities and told them “he” knew parents who were exposing their child to heroine and cocaine. According to court documents, the woman admitted “he” used the 5-year-old’s urine to take a drug test, but failed when the urine came back positive for cocaine. Later tests on the child’s urine and hair also came back positive for cocaine and opiates. An unnamed man, 54, was charged last Monday with clandestine laboratory endangerment of a child, a third-degree felony.

Dateline: Colorado– Police in Commerce City say they were called to a video store to break up a public disturbance between two parents who were fighting over which gang their 4-year-old toddler should join. Last Saturday, Joseph Manzanares stormed into the Hollywood Video store where his girlfriend worked, threatened to kill her, and knocked over several video displays and a computer, Commerce City police Sgt. Joe Sandoval told the TheDenverChannel.com. After he ran out of the store, police were called and the 19-year-old was arrested at his home. His girlfriend told police that they had been arguing about the upbringing of their son–specifically, which gang he should belong to. The teen mother, who is Black, is a member of the Crips. Manzanares is Hispanic and belongs to the Westside Ballers. “They have different ideas on how the baby should be raised. Basically, she said they cannot agree on which gang the baby would claim,” Sandoval said. Manzanares was charged with disorderly conduct, harassment and domestic violence.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to devin@alibi.com.

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