Roads Report: It's finally time for summer

June 19, 2003

Trains on her parade

A Hamlin, W.Va., teen caused an accident recently that involved not one but two trains.

Trying to be a conscientious driver, the 19-year-old woman pulled off the road to make a cell-phone call. What she didn't notice was that she had parked on a railroad track.

The first train came barreling through and knocked her car onto the neighboring track. The train on the neighboring track then came through and rammed her car again.

Trains on her parade

A Hamlin, W.Va., teen caused an accident recently that involved not one but two trains.

Trying to be a conscientious driver, the 19-year-old woman pulled off the road to make a cell-phone call. What she didn't notice was that she had parked on a railroad track.

The first train came barreling through and knocked her car onto the neighboring track. The train on the neighboring track then came through and rammed her car again.

Miraculously, the woman survived and says she learned her lesson. She vows only to use her cell phone while driving in the future.

Clean horsepower

Believe it or not, there's actually an International Carwash Association. The group, better known on the mean streets as the ICA, named the Honda Accord the "Most Washable Car of 2003" last month.

According to the ICA, the Accord's design is the easiest to "keep clean and void of dirt and grime via a professional car wash."

Second place went to the Audi A4-A6 followed by the Ford Taurus, Chevrolet Impala and the Yager Equine.

Well, actually, the Equine didn't place, but Jess Yager of Nebraska would argue that it belongs on the list. Yager likes to take his horses to a local car wash in Nebraska to clean them. He says it's easier to get caked mud out of their hair that way, not to mention that the horses prefer the warm water over cold water from a hose.

The only problem is that the local police are now saying that washing a horse at a car wash is illegal. But Yager is confident that they'll change their tune once he gets the International Horse Washing Association on the case.

Rudolph Valentino, not quite

A tone-deaf Italian was arrested recently on charges of grand theft amore.

When the 38-year-old man noticed the keys in the ignition of an empty ambulance, he decided it would be romantic to drive it over to his girlfriend's apartment, switch on the siren and begin trying to bellow love songs over it. So that's just what he did.

It didn't take long for the neighbors to call the police. As he was being arrested, the man explained to police that he just wanted a "memorable way to romance his girlfriend" and he didn't know how to play any instruments.

Verdammter Schweinehund!

A German woman had a few male motorists snickering last month when she accidentally drove into an underground subway station while trying to park along the side of the road.

Police say the 21-year-old underestimated her speed and hit the curb with enough momentum to send her car sailing over a roadside ramp and down a stairway leading into the Mehringdamm train station. Amazingly, no one was hurt.

The driver was only fined $35 (US) since she wasn't drunk or on drugs when the accident occurred. She probably wishes she was, though. The incident was reported with zeal in the Berliner Zeitung newspaper in an article titled "Women can't park after all."

About Schmidt

German police nabbed a man at a routine roadside check last month who has been driving without a license since the 1970s. 

Willibald Schmidt was forced to hand over his license in the late 1970s for excessive traffic offenses, but he continued driving without it.

So where was Schmidt headed when he was caught? To his local motoring club where he was to be honored with an award for 25 years of "careful driving and (setting a) good example to other motorists."

Tips from the road

This month we examine the Robin Loftin method for sure success in traffic court.

Loftin is an 18-year-old Carlsbad, N.M., man who was in court recently on charges of driving with a suspended license and failure to renew his vehicle registration.

His scheme centered around a strategy of digression. When the judge entered the courtroom, Loftin stood and removed his hat, accidentally allowing a forgotten marijuana joint that he had hidden in his hat to fall on the floor.

The judge immediately cited Loftin for contempt of court and deferred his original charges on the condition that Loftin stay out of trouble, clear his license and renew his registration.

Unfortunately in this case, Loftin's method landed him in jail for two days, a much stiffer sentence than he could have received for his traffic violations. But remember, the key word here is "deferred."