Curses, Foiled Again
Police arrested Steven Long, 23, in South Daytona, Fla., after he aroused their suspicion by riding past on a bicycle with a 59-inch television wedged between his lap and the handlebars. When spotted, Long ditched the bike and the TV, which was indeed stolen, but was caught while fleeing on foot. (Orlando Sentinel) Neo-Nazi Daren C. Abbey, 28, threatened to stab Marlon L. Baker, a 46-year-old African American man, after telling him “blacks are not welcome here” in Bayview, Wash. When Abbey persisted with threats and racial slurs, Baker knocked him down with one punch to the face, breaking his nose. Police who charged Abbey with battery and malicious harassment noted the back of Baker’s shirt read, “Spokane Boxing Club.” “If he had been able to read that,” Lt. Stu Miller said, “maybe he wouldn’t have done that.” (Spokane’s KREM-TV)
HOV-Lane Eligibility Follies
Texas authorities accused drunk-driving suspect James Onak, 49, of running into a stranded motorist crossing a Houston freeway and sending his body crashing through Onak’s windshield. Onak then drove three miles with the body of Fadel Steadman, 32, next to him. A deputy constable who stopped Onak after observing him driving with no lights and a shattered front windshield, spotted the body in the passenger seat, partially underneath the dashboard, with a severed leg. Investigators later found the victim’s leg and Onak’s license plate on the highway. Onak insisted he never noticed a dead body in the seat next to him. (Houston Chronicle)
Defense Department officials said they cannot account for $6.6 billion in cash that was supposed to be used for the reconstruction of Iraq. The money was part of a shipment of $12 billion, mostly $100 bills packed in shrinkwrap and airlifted to Iraq between March 2003 and May 2004. The Bush administration determined the vast cash influx was desperately needed to restore government services and give Iraqis confidence that post-U.S. invasion Iraq would be a big improvement over Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Federal auditors suggested some or all of the cash might have been stolen, some by U.S. contractors for kickbacks and bribes during the chaotic post-invasion period but most by corrupt Iraqi officials. Stuart Brown, special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, called the loss “the largest theft of funds in national history.” (Los Angeles Times)
When Robert Adams, 54, found a Chase Bank bag containing $17,000 in cash near an ATM in Midlothian, Ill., he drove to another Chicago suburb and turned it in at a Chase Bank there, telling Rolling Meadows police investigating the incident that he found the money outside a newspaper stand near the bank.
When they reviewed surveillance video and spotted Adams finding the money in Midlothian, he said he felt more comfortable turning it in in Rolling Meadows and reporting it to police there. Explaining it was a hot day and he just wanted to get home, he said, “I wasn’t looking for a reward.” Besides getting no reward, he was fined $500 for filing a false report. (Chicago Tribune)
Government-Run Medical Care
The Department of Veterans Affairs agreed to pay $925,000 to Jose Goncalves, 60, whose eyeball exploded during routine outpatient cataract surgery at a VA hospital in West Haven, Conn. Goncalves was blinded when, his lawyer said, a third-year resident incorrectly placed a needle with a local anesthetic “directly into Jose’s eye instead of behind the eye as was proper. Then, failing to recognize her error, she proceeded to inject so much anesthetic, so quickly, that Jose’s eye literally exploded.” (Connecticut Post)
Archaeologists looking in an ancient sewer beneath Herculaneum announced discovery of the largest deposit of human excrement ever found in the Roman world: enough to fill 750 sacks. (BBC News)
Sean Michael Ogden, 19, bought some fireworks in Durango, Colo., but then “decided the fireworks he purchased were too small,” fire Marshal Tom Kaufman said. After searching the Internet for directions how to blend smaller fireworks to make big fireworks, he put the fireworks in an electric coffee grinder. Kaufman said friction from the coffee grinder ignited the mixture, causing an explosion that shook houses a quarter-mile away. Ogden suffered severe burns and was hospitalized in “fair” condition. (Durango Herald)
News and Blues is compiled from the nation’s press. To contribute, submit original clippings, citing date and source, to Roland Sweet in care of The New Times.