Roads Report: The customer is always right

Jan. 16, 2004

You're being towed

A Virginia man's desperate attempt to start his stalled motorcycle landed him a spot on the latest Darwin Awards list.

According to the book dedicated to the clueless society of the world--The Darwin Awards 3 by Wendy Northcutt--the man had to explain to a motorcycle shop employee why the front end of his bike was completely ripped off.

You're being towed

A Virginia man's desperate attempt to start his stalled motorcycle landed him a spot on the latest Darwin Awards list.

According to the book dedicated to the clueless society of the world--The Darwin Awards 3 by Wendy Northcutt--the man had to explain to a motorcycle shop employee why the front end of his bike was completely ripped off.

After noticing his battery was dead, the rider decided the best solution was to try to roll it down a hill, pop it into second gear and ignite the engine.

Unsuccessful attempts to "bump-start" the bike landed the man at the bottom of a long incline.

So he called his girlfriend for a tow. When she arrived with the truck he tied one end of a rope to the bumper and the other end around his waist. While the two were on the move he decided to execute one last bump-start. However, as soon as the clutch engaged the engine turned into a brake. The bike stopped, the owner did not. Neither did his girlfriend, who dragged him up almost the entire length of the hill.

You are my sunshine

Debra Marren is not what you'd call a morning person. In December she tried to blow up a Florida gas station after an attendant refused to sell her alcohol at 5:15 a.m.

After being told that alcohol could not be legally sold until 6 a.m., Marren stormed out of the store, got into her car and deliberately smashed into a gas pump. 

As she drove off, the pump burst into a fireball. Luckily, an employee was able to hit the emergency gas shutoff valve and no one was hurt. Marren wasn't concerned with keeping a low profile, though. She was arrested a short time later after being spotted in a domestic dispute at a traffic intersection near the gas station.

Not up to scratch

The highway patrol in Madrid don't like to admit when they're wrong. But they just might have to in the case of Tomas Valdivielso.

Back in November, two officers pulled over Valdivielso on the suspicion that he was illegally using a cell phone while driving. (Only hands-free phones are permitted in moving vehicles in Spain.) But Valdivielso told the officers he was just scratching his ear. He was even able to show them that the last call on his cell phone went out the night before.

The officers stepped away from the car to huddle and then returned to tell Valdivielso that he was still receiving a $70 fine. His offense was driving while "holding his ear with his right hand in a permanent fashion." 

Valdivielso, a lawyer, filed a 10-page appeal that was equally ridiculous. He argued that Spanish law doesn't bar ear scratching while driving and that his ticket failed to state which ear was being held or even how many ears Valdivielso has.

Tips from the road

Truck driving can be a demanding job, and the temptation to do more behind the wheel than just drive is always there. But changing clothes should always be a no-no.

An Ohio driver learned this lesson the hard way recently on an Indiana highway. With his semitrailer set on cruise control, Terry Gilmore began to get undressed. But around the time he was removing his skivvies, he misjudged a curve and rolled his truck off the road.

Gilmore wasn't seriously injured, but he almost wished he was. It might have made it easier to explain to his boss why he was found in the wreckage completely naked. 

McRage

A Texas woman will have 10 years in prison to decide whether it was worth running over a McDonald's employee when she couldn't get mayonnaise on her burger.

Waynetta Nolan apologized in court, claiming she was going through a bad period in her life when the incident happened and that she couldn't even remember it taking place. 

The way Sherry Allen Jenkins remembers things, Nolan became aggressive toward her and the rest of the McDonald's staff from the drive-thru lane after being told the cheeseburger she ordered didn't come with mayo. When Jenkins came out to take Nolan's license plate number to give to police, Nolan ran her down and ended up dragging her through the restaurant's parking lot. Jenkins suffered a broken pelvis and still has tire marks on her leg.

Nolan showed no remorse during her trial until she was told that Texas prisons only serve burgers with ketchup.