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Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird

Apr. 19, 2012
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Sound Reasoning

In Butte, Mont., in February, John Hughes, 55, was fined $1,000 after pleading guilty to reckless driving for leading police on a middle-of-the-night car chase exceeding 100 mph. After police deflated his car's tires and arrested him, an officer asked Hughes why he had taken off. Said Hughes, "I just always wanted to do that."

Least Competent Criminals

  • Damien Bittar of Eugene, Ore., turned 21 at midnight on March 15 and apparently wanted to get a quick start on his legal-drinking career. By 1:30 a.m., his car had been impounded and he had been charged with DUI, reckless driving and criminal mischief after accidentally crashing his car into an alcohol rehabilitation center.
  • Maureen Reed, 41, was charged with DWI in March in Lockport, N.Y., after arriving at a police station inebriated. She had gotten into an altercation with two people at the Niagara Hotel and decided to go to the police to press charges. The police station is about 200 feet from the hotel, but, instead of walking, Reed decided to drive her car there.
  • Two men were robbed in a motel room in Bradenton, Fla., in February by Cedrick Mitchell, 39, who had pulled a handgun on them. Soon after, however, the men started to fight back and Mitchell lost the gun in the struggle. Mitchell quickly fled the scene. He returned a few minutes later, however and begged to buy the gun back for $40, but all he got was some pepper-spray to the face. Police arrested Mitchell nearby.

Compelling Explanations

  • Drill, Baby, Drill: One would hope that U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) was joking, but according to a February Washington Post story, he was being serious at a Natural Resources Committee hearing when explaining why the United States should support oil drilling in Alaska. Caribou, he said, are fond of the warmth of the Alaskan pipeline. "So when they want to go on a date, they invite each other to head over to the pipeline." That mating ritual, Rep. Gohmert concluded, is surely responsible for a recent tenfold increase in the local caribou population.
  • In assigning a bail of only $20,000, the judge in Ellisville, Miss., seemed torn about whether to believe that Harold Hadley is a terrorist—that is, did Hadley plant a bomb at Jones County Junior College? In February, investigators told WDAM-TV that the evidence against Hadley included a note on toilet paper in which he had written, in effect, "I passed a bomb in the library." However, no bomb was found, and a relative of Hadley's told the judge that Hadley often speaks of breaking wind as "passing a bomb." The case is continuing.


In February, Earl Persell, 56, was arrested in Palm Bay, Fla., when police were summoned to his home for a report of domestic violence. Persell's girlfriend said he had assaulted her and held her down by the neck, and then, when she tried to drive away, used his truck to ram the car she was driving. Reportedly, the couple had been having a heated verbal argument before it escalated into violence. The subject of the argument had been legendary singer Tina Turner and her late, abusive husband, Ike.

Good Try

In February, Mark “Chopper” Read said he had only wanted to help out his son's youth athletics program in Collingwood (a suburb of Melbourne, Australia), but officials won't allow his services anymore. He had offered his assistance at track meets by, for instance, firing the starter's pistol for races, but officials declined further help after learning that Read had spent 23 years in prison and had boasted of killing 19 people and once attempting to kidnap a judge at gunpoint.

© 2012 Chuck Shepherd


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