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April 2019

12 April 2019

Efren Mencia-Ramirez caught the attention of South Carolina sheriff's officers by speeding past one of them and swerving into another lane. About to be pulled over, he decided that it might be a problem if the smell of alcohol were detectable on his breath. Therefore, Mencia-Ramirez, 49, sprayed Axe body spray in his mouth. This did not prevent officers from noticing the 12-pack of beer on the floor of the vehicle, from which 10 of the beers were nearly empty, or the open bottle between his legs. Mencia-Ramirez failed field sobriety tests and is awaiting charges.

More than 400 people gathered at a central square in Berlin in response to calls for a 'face-off' made by two rival social-media 'influencers', one from Berlin and the other from Stuttgart. The resulting brawl on Alexanderplatz involved 50 members of the crowd, some of whom threw rocks from a nearby railway line. The melee was broken up by more than 100 police officers, who used pepper spray after amplified orders to disperse failed. Seven members of the crowd and two police officers were injured.
Both YouTube stars, 'Thatsbekir' and 'Bahar Al Amood', have denied that they are at fault for what transpired.

A woman in China recently tried her hand at home remedies. She didn't have spare semen to inject into herself, so this 51-year-old Guiyang County woman opted for a wholesome cocktail of 20 fruit juices, which she administered to herself by intravenous drip infusion. She soon was suffering from a fever and itchy skin. Liver, heart, and lung damage followed.
After five days in intensive care at a hospital in Hunan, where she received dialysis, clotting agents, and a bevy of antibiotics, she explained that 'I had thought fresh fruits were very nutritious and it would not do me harm by injecting them into my body'. Dr Liu Jianxiu made it clear that she could very easily have died of multiple organ failure and sepsis.

Shortly after taking out five injury insurance policies, a 21-year-old woman in Slovenia showed up at a Ljubljana hospital with what her family described as an injury suffered while cutting branches: her hand had been cleanly severed above the wrist. The family did not bring the severed hand to the hospital for reattachment, so authorities retrieved it from their home, and it was sewn back on. Also at the home was a circular saw, which police spokesman Valter Zrinski reports that the woman and her family are accused of using in an attempted insurance scam. That scheme could net at least two of them eight years in prison rather than a 350,000 euro payout.

Texas's Knoxville News Sentinel reports on Howard Matthew Webb, a worker for an online food delivery company. Unhappy with a tip of 89 cents after a half-hour drive, he apparently dipped his testicles in the salsa, as shown in a video posted online. To avoid charges of felonious adulteration of food, the 31-year-old Webb agreed to admit to misdemeanor assault / offensive touching. He nearly scuppered the plea deal by angering Judge Robert Headrick: Webb laughed while entering his plea. The judge responded that nothing about this abhorrent situation is cute or funny. Webb was sentenced to six months' probation.

In footage captured on construction workers' mobile phones, contract worker John Manley ploughs a small excavator into the lobby of the new Travelodge hotel he had been working on in Liverpool, smashing through the windows and demolishing the front desk. Manley, 35, could be heard shouting that 'all you had to do was pay me my fucking 600 quid', the amount he was owed by subcontracting firm MF Construction, whose staff he had been unable to reach for an explanation. The damage, estimated at 50,000 pounds, reportedly has been rectified.
Internet users collected a few thousand pounds so that Manley needn't go without electricity again in the near future. Some of their comments prompted his cousin, Jason Pellegrini, to state that Manley is 'not a national hero like some people have been making out', since 'pay disputes can be handled in different ways'.
Before facing charges of criminal damage and recklessly endangering life, Manley was hospitalised. Pellegrini hopes Manley can now receive the mental-health assistance he had been seeking for months.

When pupils at a Catholic school in Redditch received the customary ashes on their forehead at an Ash Wednesday assembly, some received a reminder that will last beyond the end of Lent. It remains unclear what type of ash was distributed at St Augustine's High School, but it produced a 'tingling' sensation that led to the ceremony being suspended at the halfway mark and to distribution of wet wipes instead. At least 73 students and 16 teachers suffered chemical burns from the crosses on their forehead. In at least one case, medics reported scarring to be likely. The school turned to lab experts for analysis of the ashes, and some parents have turned to legal advisers.

I haven't run a story about animal-hoarders for a while, so I bring you the Virginia Beach, Virginia, home of Lisa D. Ross. Back in 2009, authorities visited in search of weapons linked to her son's alleged plot to kill high-school students. Instead, they found about 120 cats, half of them deceased. They made similar discoveries a few years later. This time, the problem found by respirator-wearing experts is mainly the 100+ dead animals kept in freezers or decomposing in a plastic storage container. Animal Control Supervisor Meghan Conti says that Ross was probably keeping the animals because of an emotional attachment and that she probably needs help.

A high-speed train from Frankfurt to Paris was moving at too high a speed for one passenger, a 30-year-old inebriated man. Witnesses report that the man removed a fire extinguisher from the brackets on the carriage wall and smashed through the glass partition separating him from the driver's cab, to 'save the passengers'. Although the train was not moving so swiftly that all aboard really were doomed, the driver stopped near Frankfurt and the concerned passenger was taken into custody.

Elsewhere in Germany, police conducting speed checks in Dortmund noticed a 56-year-old Essen resident with an odd-looking Polish driving licence. Although some things are done differently in Poland, officers were aware that 32.08.17 is not a valid date of issue even there. When investigation continued beyond the matter of 32 August, it emerged that the car had been decommissioned months back and was of unclear ownership. Both it and the 'cleverly forged driving licence' have been confiscated. The driver faces prosecution for falsification of documents, among other things.

Someone on a rush-hour train in Australia reported that a man with a rifle case was aboard and acting suspiciously. People on the train began tearfully ringing their relatives, diving to the floor, and so on. Police officers in body armour met the train at Melbourne's Flagstaff station, which had been put on lockdown. The man in question, Will Austin, had planned to get off there anyway, and he did so, oblivious to the fuss. Officers asked to look in his bag and saw his innocent didgeridoo within. It turned out that Austin's suspicious behaviour had consisted of performing breathing exercises in preparation for busking.

The town of Ridgefield, Connecticut, have admitted that 'a poor decision was made' recently in the preparations for a high-school baseball game. In an attempt to 'dry the field quicker' before the competition later in the day, someone poured nearly 100 litres of petrol over the Governors Field baseball diamond and set it alight while spectators looked on. The contaminated soil is now being dug up, and remediation efforts could run to $50,000. No charges have been filed.
Only days earlier, a similar decision came back to haunt a high-school baseball coach in Utah. Clearfield High School's Steve Ross used only 55 to 75 litres of diesel fuel and standard petrol, but, unlike the folks in Ridgefield, he has been placed on administrative leave. His actions came to light after a concerned parent noticed the smell of petrol during a match. There is now caution tape around the infield. The team have no field and no coach for the moment, and the area may not have safe groundwater either.

Doesn't it make sense to test that a product works as it should? This might have been the reasoning, if any, applied by Arkansas's Charles Ferris and Christopher Hicks when they had access to a .22-calibre rifle and a bulletproof vest.
The two men are neighbours who were drinking together on a deck when Ferris, 50, asked Hicks, 36, to shoot him and thereby test the vest. Hicks complied. This hurt, so Ferris retaliated by swapping roles and then firing all the remaining rounds into the other man's back.
Both men have been arrested.

Michael Grief's 78-year-old grandmother was displeased upon learning that, using her debit card, he had apparently overdrawn her bank account by $1,000. During the ensuing argument at their Sayville, New York, home, she became frightened and left to seek neighbours' assistance. According to the Suffolk County district attorney's office, the 30-year-old Grief followed her and jammed his fingers in her eyes until they ruptured. A neighbour found her crying on the doorstep.
District Attorney Timothy Sini said that, when told that he had gouged his grandmother's eyes out, Grief said 'So?' and shrugged his shoulders. He faces one count of first-degree assault and two of second-degree assault.

When a 28-year-old Taiwanese woman was pulling graveside weeds at the annual tomb-sweeping festival, a gust of wind, with a puff of dirt, left her with eye pain and swelling. Hours later, she was unable even to fully close her eyes, so she sought help from Fooyin University Hospital staff. One of them, Dr Hong Chi Ting, later reported noticing something black under a microscope. He was soon carefully pulling out a 4 mm sweat bee by a leg, and 'then I saw another one, and another and another.' He pulled them all out, and the women is expected to make a full recovery. All four bees too remain intact and alive.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports on a case in which an armed robber tried to make off with cash from a 7-Eleven convenience store in Madison. To convince the clerk to open the cash drawer, the masked man sliced her finger with a box cutter. According to the police, the till system's computer touchscreen does not function when wet. Her blood therefore foiled his plans, and the robber ended up heading for the getaway car with just a few packs of cigarettes instead. He remains at large.

One of the hazards of employment in Hazard, Kentucky, became clear to Jason Fields after his manager, Sharon Lindon, found out that he was going through a divorce. Fields alleges that she told him he'd have to be 'cleansed' of demons if he wanted to continue working as Hampton Inn front desk staff. This involved completing a questionnaire about his sexual habits and religious matters, as a precursor to an exorcism.
Fields says that, when he refused to comply, Lindon changed his shift assignments and began having people from her religious ministry pray for him in front of guests while he was working. He quit the job and is suing Lindon and the hotel chain.

A groundskeeper in Pasco Country, Florida, rang the cops to report some young women at his roadside rest and service area: 'All three of them are standing in the nude, putting on suntan lotion.' While explaining to the responding state trooper that they were simply 'air drying' after a shower, the trio drove off. Troopers thought no more of it until someone else rang. The issue this time was reckless driving on the wrong side of the road. A tracking dart fired at the women's vehicle led officers to a convenience store car park, where a trooper proceeded to apprehend one of the three, who was having trouble making it back into the vehicle.
One of her cohorts came to her aid by driving at the trooper, and the other took action on foot, swinging a metal bat, before all three ladies were on the road again. In the end, tyre-deflation strips and Tasers were deployed for taking Oasis McLeod, 18; Jeniyah McLeod, 19; and Cecilia Young, 19, into custody. Several troopers reported minor injuries.

Another story from Florida has a vehicular bent. In this one, Shadow Lantry and her husband were parked outside West Pasco Judicial Center when they strapped one-year-old daughter Dallas into her seat in back and tossed the keys onto the front seat, then closed the car door. That was an error. Soon, work-release inmates who had been servicing nearby car park kerbs came to the family's assistance. One of the inmates popped open the electronic door lock, which took about two minutes.

A house-sitter told dispatchers at Oregon's Washington County Sheriff's Office that a burglar was in the bathroom with the door locked. From the gap at the bottom of the door, his shadow could be seen moving about. Officers soon had the house surrounded and issued multiple commands for the rustling interloper to leave the bathroom, including 'Last chance - come out now or you're going to get bit!' Seventeen minutes after the original call, officers with weapons drawn forced their way through the door and confronted the offender - who was swiftly identified as a Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner that had begun a programmed cleaning cycle.

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