Hot fun in the summer time

July 18, 2005

Fowl play

Why did the chicken cross the road? Because it was unaware of traffic ordinance 300.670.

That was the reaction of the decidedly humorless police department in Ridgecrest, Calif., after a chicken was caught wandering on a local highway. Because it was impeding traffic, the bird was issued a ticket for $54. The chicken’s owners claim that police have had it in for them ever since they complained that not enough was being done to keep noisy off-road vehicles out of their neighborhood.

Fowl play

Why did the chicken cross the road? Because it was unaware of traffic ordinance 300.670.

That was the reaction of the decidedly humorless police department in Ridgecrest, Calif., after a chicken was caught wandering on a local highway. Because it was impeding traffic, the bird was issued a ticket for $54. The chicken’s owners claim that police have had it in for them ever since they complained that not enough was being done to keep noisy off-road vehicles out of their neighborhood.

In May, the chicken had its day in court, and its attorney successfully argued that it was a domesticated bird and therefore not bound to the same highway restrictions as livestock. Or, as the attorney argued, “If the name don’t fit, you have to acquit!”

Blood, sweat and pepperoni

There probably won’t be much competition for Employee of the Month at the Hungry Howie’s in Tampa, Fla.

Thomas Stefanelli, 37, was delivering pizzas for the eatery in June when he was held up by a would-be robber in a Halloween mask. Not about to turn over his money and his car like some sniveling Domino’s delivery guy, Stefanelli wrestled his assailant to the ground, being shot in the thigh in the process. Undaunted, Stefanelli returned to his car and continued his delivery route. He delivered four more pizzas before finally driving back to the Hungry Howie’s where an ambulance was called to rush him to the hospital. Stefanelli’s leg was not only OK, he was back on the job three days later.

Time for a subway pass

A recent GMAC Insurance study confirmed what many American motorists already know: Drivers in New England don’t know what they’re doing.

GMAC administered a test to nearly 5,000 drivers nationwide in order to evaluate Americans’ driving knowledge. While motorists in the Northwest and Great Lakes had the highest marks with a passing rate of 97-99%, the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic saw a full 20% of its drivers flunk. The overall national averages weren’t any more comforting:

  • 1 out of 5 drivers does not know that a pedestrian has the right of way at a crosswalk.
  • 3 out of 5 drivers say that they change lanes on a highway without using their blinker.
  • Nearly 1 out of 3 drivers who drink said that they would knowingly drive while over the legal limit “if they felt OK.”

Fahrvergnügen

When patrolman Ethan Bernardi drove past a 1998 Volkswagen Jetta last month, he didn't need to check any databases to know it was stolen—it was his own car.

Three days after the car had disappeared from his North Charleston, S.C., driveway, Bernardi spotted it on his way to meet his wife. If there was any doubt, the running lights and “Thin Blue Line” bumper sticker gave it away.

He quickly made a U-turn and pulled the car over. The three suspects inside tried to argue that there are Jettas everywhere with annoying daytime headlights and tacky police bumper stickers, but the three were arrested anyway.

Fringe benefit

Ever wonder where all those quarters people put into parking meters end up? Apparently Vincent Howard has them all.

Howard is a former Mount Clemens, Mich., parking meter attendant who recently pleaded guilty to stealing $120,000 in quarters over the span of 10 years. He claims he pocketed $250 a week for 10 years to help pay bills. Howard currently works as a $9/hour laborer for a fence company, though that may change when the company figures out what happened to all of its nail guns.

First sign of a problem

A man in Winthrop, Ark., learned firsthand just how harmful cigarettes can be. After a night out drinking, the 38-year-old man was riding home in his friend’s car when the cigarette he was smoking blew out the passenger window. Despite the fact that he was cruising down a highway at night going 55-60 mph, the man decided to jump out of the car in order to save his cigarette.

Unfortunately when he hit the pavement he suffered trauma to his nose, eyes and chin. He survived, though, and pointed out that this incident wasn’t nearly as bad as the time he dropped his wallet on an African safari.