Odd news for Tuesday
October 23, 2007
VANCOUVER, Wash. ” An 8-year-old boy riding in a car with his mom called 911 several times to report that she wasn’t “acting normal,” leading to her arrest for investigation of drunken driving and other charges, authorities said.
Paulette Lynn Spears, 33, was arrested Saturday after she drove to a fire station and said she had a medical problem.
Guided by her son’s description of what he could see from the car, as well as by global positioning technology to track the phone calls, deputies arrived at the station less than a minute later.
“He said ‘I don’t know where we are, and Mom’s not acting normal,”‘ sheriff’s Sgt. Randon M. Walker said.
At one point, Spears took a cellular telephone from the boy, told the dispatcher not to worry and hung up, Walker said. The boy called back, and again his mother cut short the call, Walker said.
“The mother kept interrupting the 8-year-old,” he said. “It happened at least twice.”
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At one point, Walker said, Spears apparently bit the boy’s hand to get the telephone away from him.
Four minutes before the boy’s first call, dispatchers had received a report of car that matched the description of Spears’ car being driven erratically.
The boy and a 5-year-old child, who was also in the car, were placed with an aunt. As of Monday, Spears remained in jail for investigation of drunken driving, two counts of reckless endangerment and assault of a child. It was not clear if she had a lawyer to speak for her because she had not appeared in court.
Records show she has at least one conviction for drunken driving.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. ” Should Dale Robertson ever decide to rob a bank, he might consider one in a different state.
Robertson, 54, pleaded guilty Monday to bank robbery after admitting he robbed the First Kansas Bank and Trust in Edgerton on June 6. He was convicted of a similar crime in 1992, receiving a nearly nine-year sentence for robbing the Bank of Wellsville, less than eight miles up the road.
It was the man he held up at gunpoint in the robbery 15 years ago, Wellsville President Steve Layton, who identified Robertson from surveillance photos in the June robbery.
About an hour before Robertson robbed the Edgerton bank, employees at the Wellsville bank spotted him acting suspiciously. After hearing that the Edgerton bank was robbed, they identified Robertson from surveillance photos.
Upon looking at the photos, Layton realized it was Robertson. A bank clerk later identified Robertson as the man who robbed her at gunpoint in Edgerton.
Robertson faces up to 25 years in prison at his sentencing hearing in January.
MORTON, Ill. ” After nearly going splat, the 11th annual Morton Punkin’ Chuckin’ Contest was held this weekend, with categories in the fling-and-smash event including hand-tossed, catapult and air cannon.
The Morton Chamber of Commerce announced in July it was canceling the event, citing financial and logistical concerns and the pressure of putting on back-to-back extravaganzas. The chamber also sponsored September’s Pumpkin Festival.
A coalition of business and civic groups picked up the pieces to help save the event in August. Morton, which pumps out 85 percent of the world’s canned pumpkin, proclaims itself the Pumpkin Capital of the World.
Susan Pyles, the town’s tourism director, said she thinks the publicity generated by Punkin’ Chuckin’s brief demise helped Saturday’s attendance, when the crowd was estimated at 4,000.
“This was one of our biggest one-day crowds in years,” she said. “It was extraordinary. There were a lot of people at Punkin’ Chuckin’ for the first time. Many first-timers told me they always meant to go to Punkin’ Chuckin’, then decided to take a look after Punkin’ Chuckin’ was almost canceled.”
The event was also held Sunday, amid spring-like weather, at the Uhlman family farm, its home since 2001.
Punkin’ Chuckin’ competitive divisions include hand-tossed, two categories for youths, and adult human-powered. The open division was divided into trebuchet (gravity propulsion), catapult, centrifugal and air cannon.
No explosives can be used, and a pumpkin must leave a machine intact.
The Aludium Q-36 air cannon and Acme Catapult machines were crowd favorites Saturday.
Aludium Q-36 holds the pumpkin chucking world record of 4,869 feet, set in 2001. But during Saturday’s testing round, a pumpkin disintegrated as it was noisily blasted out of the cannon, with tiny pieces of the gourd raining on spectators.
A pumpkin seemed to float in the air after launched by Acme Catapult; the team’s support vehicle is a converted ambulance.
SOUTH BEND, Ind.” It wasn’t a fleeing suspect who attacked four police officers sent to investigate a burglary report at a garbage-filled vacant house ” it was a swarm of fleas.
The bug barrage was so overwhelming that the patrolmen had to be decontaminated.
“They were all over the place ” in our socks and even in our shorts. It was disgusting,” said Cpl. Ken Stuart.
A van took the officers back to their station, where they showered with flea and lice shampoo and soap. The wife of one of the officers brought them a change of clothing.
“The guys were very angry. The last thing they wanted to deal with was fleas,” Sgt. Chuck Stokes said of the officers’ Oct. 14 ordeal. “That killed the whole shift.”
Stokes said the tenants of the house had recently been evicted, but were keeping a dog in the backyard and allowing it to run around inside the garbage-filled house.