ROADS REPORT

Article February 28, 2001
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Small wonder


Small wonder


They say the birth of a child is something of a miracle, but the birth of baby Patrick last month in Louisville, Ky., is being heralded as nothing short.


Patrick entered the world most unceremoniously when his father?s tractor-trailer hit a patch of ice and jackknifed into a snowy embankment. His mother, eight-months pregnant and lying down in a sleeping compartment, sat up when the truck began to slide and was thrown through the windshield and killed upon impact.


Hearing the crash from her grandmother?s house, 18-year-old Patricia Welch ran to the scene and covered the baby with a blanket until help arrived. When paramedics finally made it, they found the baby blue and motionless. But when they grabbed the still-intact umbilical cord, the baby began crying.


The father, who suffered only minor injuries, and the newborn were rushed to the hospital. With only a scratch on his knee, the baby is in good condition. When learning of the woman?s name who covered his baby in a blanket, most likely saving his life, the father named the baby Patrick.




Happiness is a rock in a cop?s face


Chicago highway patrol officers have cooked up a devious new scheme for catching speeding motorists: tag teams.


First, one officer picks a hidden spot on the highway to radar cars from. A second pulls over to the side of the road half a mile away in an unmarked car. A third officer does the same, only in the opposite direction. Sometimes two or three additional unmarked cars are used as well.


When the first officer finds someone late to a doctor?s appointment because their newborn woke up sick, he radios one of the "catch cars" with the violator?s description and speed. As the speeder passes, the catch car quickly curbs the evil law breaker before they even see the officer who clocked their speed.


The fuzz don?t seem to have much sympathy. As one told the Chicago Sun-Times, "Hey, it?s a speeding ticket. It?s not like I?m throwing them in the electric chair."




When you absolutely, positively can?t afford a gift


Christmas is coming late for some Los Angeles residents and an Air Force base.


After launching an external investigation when packages turned up missing, FedEx recently learned that one of their drivers, 29-year-old Russell Carnes, may have stolen $14,000 worth of merchandise he was supposed to deliver and used some of it as Christmas gifts for his family.


Carnes was found out when his family became suspicious of packages he had given them bearing FedEx logos and called the authorities. After his arrest, $6,500 worth of goods were recovered.


Among the treasures that Carnes allegedly stole were books, around 50 video games and even an ultraviolet measuring device intended for Edwards Air Force Base.




Smells like fun


As the development of housing and strip malls increases in New Jersey, wildlife are being forced into more populated areas. The result last year was 18,500 dead deer removed from central and northern New Jersey roads.


And the job of removing those deer goes to Kelly McCleery of Mannington, N.J. Working seven days a week and driving up to 300 miles a day, McCleery answers police faxes to pick up dead deer at specific locations as well as any others she finds on the way.


McCleery said she finds the job peaceful. A life-long animal lover, she said it gives her a chance to work with animals that don?t bite and don?t have owners to deal with.


The biggest problem, though, is the smell. The van she carts her carcasses around in smells so bad that mechanics refuse to work on it. But she really knew she had a problem when she was denied service at a Taco Bell drive-thru.




Dude, where?s our car?


Days after an Atlanta couple had their car and checkbook stolen, they got quite a surprise at their bank. Not only was their car there, but the thieves who had stolen it had it parked in the drive-through lane while they tried to cash a check they had written to themselves with the couple?s checkbook.


When the couple spotted the car, they called 911 and a local deputy caught the thieves after a brief chase.


If they hadn?t been apprehended, it would have only been a matter of time. The robbers? forged check was made out to one of the thieves, plus he left his driver?s license with the bank teller.




Really, it?s OK in OK.


Ronald Thomas, a 38-year-old Oklahoma convict, was able to successfully escape from jail?but then asked to return.


Breaking out of a work crew last month, Thomas commandeered a correction department van and headed north.


After 150 miles of desolate Oklahoma landscape, Thomas was completely lost. So he pulled into a convenient store and called 911 asking to be taken back to prison. He faces new charges of escaping and stealing a vehicle and may be forced to do public service ads for the state saying that Oklahoma is really better than jail.




Signs, signs, everywhere signs


In an attempt to increase local identity, as well as keep drivers on the right path, the city of Newark, N.J., is installing new attractive, user-friendly road signs.


Costing around $2 million paid entirely from state grants, the signs will guide drivers to specific neighborhoods and significant sites around the city.


"We?re installing modern signs that tell people where they?re going and how to get there," said Mayor Sharpe James in a moment of unbridled clarity.


The mayor went on to say that the project will enhance Newark?s image and build local pride, though he denied rumors that this was being done only after plans to move the city out of New Jersey failed.


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