This week in odd news: Skunk fire, sleepwalker, T-Rex walk
BY RICHARD A. SOMMA
Feb. 24, 2018
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — Authorities say a man crashed his vehicle into another car, got out, stripped naked, fired a gun into the air and ran off into the woods in North Carolina.
Lt. Jerry Brewer with the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office tells news outlets the unnamed driver was speeding down a major Wilmington street Thursday night when he crashed. Brewer says the man fired a gun four to five times into the air before fleeing into the nearby woods, but then returned and put his clothes back on.
No possible motive for this series of actions has been provided.
Deputies took the man into custody when he emerged from the woods. He's been charged with going armed to the terror of the public, and additional charges are pending.
No one was injured.
CORSICANA, Texas (AP) — Police say a Texas woman attempted to hide evidence during an arrest by defecating in her pants and using the feces to conceal drugs.
Officers in Corsicana, about 55 miles south of Dallas, were investigating a report of a theft at a grocery store on Wednesday when they attempted to subdue a female suspect and take her into custody. Police say they placed Shannen Martin in the back of a police cruiser where they say she intentionally defecated in her pants then hid a crack pipe, 2.3 grams of crack cocaine and a Valentine's Day card in her excrement.
Officers had to sift through the woman's feces to retrieve the evidence after Martin was booked on charges of tampering with evidence and possession of a controlled substance.
NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City bicyclist delivering Chinese food is blaming the Waze navigation app for directing him into the busy Lincoln Tunnel, where bikes are banned.
A Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman says 19-year-old Bruce Lee was stopped Tuesday evening after he pedaled into the tunnel, which connects Manhattan and New Jersey.
The Staten Island man told police that he was directed into the tunnel under the Hudson River by the Waze app on his phone.
He was arrested on charges of trespass and criminal possession of a weapon after a dagger was found in his possession. It wasn't immediately clear if he had a lawyer who could comment.
FERNDALE, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a man destroyed a suburban Detroit home while trying to use a smoke bomb to rid a crawlspace of skunks.
The Detroit Free Press reports the man's attempt sparked a fire Monday that quickly spread from the crawlspace to the first floor. The fire eventually spread through the walls and attic of the rental property.
Ferndale Fire Chief Kevin P. Sullivan says the house was a complete loss. He says no skunk carcasses were found.
Sullivan says the department advises that people hire pest control professionals for such work. But he says if someone is "an absolute die-hard do-it-yourselfer, please read and understand the directions and warning labels" on such devices.
A responding firefighter suffered a sprain, but no other injuries were reported from the incident.
BOSTON (AP) — Authorities say a Massachusetts trolley driver paid a man $2,000 to attack him while wearing a Halloween mask so the driver could fraudulently collect workers' compensation and disability insurance.
A Suffolk County grand jury on Wednesday indicted Thomas Lucey on charges of insurance fraud, workers' compensation fraud, misleading a police investigation and perjury.
Prosecutors say the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority driver reported the man pulled him out of a trolley shortly after midnight on Oct. 30, 2016, and punched him repeatedly. The attacker wore a mask and carried a plastic pumpkin.
Authorities say they lifted fingerprints from the pumpkin left behind at the scene to find the man and that he said Lucey paid him for the phony attack.
An attorney for Lucey couldn't immediately be reached Thursday.
GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania middle school canceled classes after a student who said he was sleepwalking was found inside the building.
State police say the seventh-grade student called 911 around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday to report he was inside Wendover Middle School in Hempfield Township.
The student told authorities he had been sleepwalking and woke up inside the school. Police say the student entered the school through a window and wandered around for about 15 minutes.
Police say the student lives about 4 miles from the school.
The Hempfield Area School District canceled classes Wednesday due to security concerns, and police swept the building. The district says Wednesday's incident is not connected to another student's arrest earlier this week for threatening to shoot a female student.
WEST CHESTER, Pa. (AP) — One Pennsylvania resident has been called to perform his civic duty a few years earlier than expected.
Jeanette Fox says her son came running to her with a summons from the Chester County court to appear for jury duty in March. Her son, Luke, is only 11 years old.
Fox says she tried to go online to request an exemption, but there was no option to select for those too young to serve. She says she made multiple phone calls, and a person who answered said the county had recently changed companies that pull the list for people who receive summonses.
The error was eventually fixed, but Fox says her son was excited to go. Luke is a Boy Scout, and he toured the Chester County Courthouse last year.
OLDMANS TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — It was a sticky commute on a New Jersey interstate after tar coated the highway.
State Trooper Alejandro Goez says the tar was in the center and right southbound lanes along a 5-mile (8-kilometer) stretch of Interstate 295 in Salem County just after 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.
The trooper says about 20 vehicles reported going over the tar between mileposts 13 and 8. The tar stuck to their tires and wheels.
There were no accidents or injuries. Workers scraped the tar from the road.
State Police are trying to determine where the tar came from.
EAST LANSDOWNE, Pa. (AP) — Police in a Philadelphia suburb received an unusual report about a dinosaur on the loose.
But officers in East Lansdowne did not panic and took things in stride when they realized what was happening.
They posted a video showing a person in a Tyrannosaurus rex costume "taking their kid to school" on Tuesday.
Officers concluded their report: "No problem. Clear."
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — After an outcry, the organization that controls the release of emojis has added two more legs to the forthcoming lobster emoji to make it correct.
The Portland Press Herald reports soon after the Unicode Consortium released proposed images of 157 new emojis to be made available this year, Maine residents took umbrage at the lobster emoji's eight legs instead of the correct 10.
Emojipedia Chief Emoji Officer Jeremy Burge wrote Monday the consortium had heard people's complaints and is releasing updated designs for the lobster emoji, alongside updates for a skateboard and DNA emoji.
The lobster emoji is expected to be available later this year.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — What happens in Vegas really can stay in Vegas.
Tourists catching a flight out of Sin City can now dump their leftover legal marijuana in metal containers set up at the airport.
The 10 green bins dubbed "amnesty boxes" prevent federal transportation agents from finding pot on passengers during security screenings. The drug is legal in Nevada but still banned by the U.S. government.
The containers were installed last week following a county ban on marijuana possession and advertising at McCarran International Airport, aiming to keep it in compliance with federal law. They are bolted to the ground and designed so marijuana and prescription drugs can only be dropped in, not taken out.
"The amnesty boxes are offered as a way to help people comply with this ordinance," airport spokeswoman Christine Crews said in an email.
Transportation Security Administration agents normally hand over marijuana-related cases to local law enforcement. Las Vegas police Officer Aden Ocampo-Gomez said no citations have been issued stemming from the airport's ban on marijuana possession and advertising, passed in September.
The boxes are something travelers may have seen before — at least two airports in Colorado, where recreational marijuana is also legal, offer amnesty boxes.
But they're likely to be a bigger draw at the Las Vegas airport, which saw 48.5 million passengers last year. Legal sales of recreational marijuana began in the state on July 1, and they have exceeded expectations.
That's despite a ban on consuming it in public, including the Las Vegas Strip, hotels and casinos. Those 21 and older with a valid ID can buy up to an ounce of pot and use it only in private homes.
The airport boxes display Clark County's ordinance and are clearly marked, with a black, bold font stating: "Disposal for Prescription and Recreational Drugs." They contrast sharply with nearby trash cans.
A contractor, not police, will initially empty the boxes multiple times per week and then adjust the schedule as usage patterns develop.
Crews said the county aviation department plans to install 20 bins but could add more. In addition to the boxes placed Friday outside the airport, three were set up at the nearby car rental facility.
The remaining seven bins will be installed at smaller area airports and other department-owned properties.
HONOLULU (AP) — A renowned 67-year-old bird is a mother again.
Hawaii News Now reported Thursday that the albatross named Wisdom is the world's oldest known wild breeding bird.
Officials said Wisdom welcomed her new chick Feb. 6 at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.
Midway Atoll and Battle of Midway National Memorial in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument are home to more than 3 million seabirds. The birds return each year to rest, lay eggs and raise chicks.
Kelly Goodale, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Refuge biologist, says Midway Atoll is home to countless generations of albatrosses.
Wisdom and her mate welcomed their last chick in 2017. Scientists believe Wisdom has successfully raised more than 30 chicks.