Roads Report: The days are getting longer

And that means more daylight for your teenagers to spend dangling from utility wires

David Matthews / April 16, 2003

Kitson Brown's son must have had a great football practice a
few weeks ago because afterward Kitson let him drive the family Lexus home.
There was only one small problem: Kitson's son is only seven years old.

Connecticut officers pulled the car over after spotting it
weaving on the road. They were surprised to find that the driver's head barely
cleared the windshield.

Police say the boy only drove about a mile before being
stopped. His dad faces several charges after unsuccessfully trying to convince
authorities that the driver wasn't his child but actually NFL quarterback Doug

High as a kite

Eighteen-year-old Joe Thompson could take some driving
lessons from the seven-year-old Brown boy. The Blue Springs, Col., teen wasn't
wearing his seat belt when he crashed his Jeep into another car. The impact
sent Thompson flying from his vehicle.

The uninjured driver of the other car returned to the scene
to find an empty Jeep. Hearing a voice from above, he looked up to find
Thompson hanging from two live power lines that he managed to grab mid-flight
from his Jeep.

Amazingly, Thompson was fine, due in large part to the power
lines being insulated.

Sew what

Merle Granoff might have missed a red light, but she sure
didn't miss a Miami Beach, Fla., senior citizen medical transport van. She hit
it so hard, she managed to flip it over.

Granoff, 61, tried to flee the scene but was stopped by a
witness. So while awaiting her arrest and watching fire fighters work to free
the injured elderly from the overturned van, Granoff sat down and began to

This isn't the first time Granoff has done something like
this. She now faces possible prison time, but if convicted at least she'll be
warm in her new cable-knit cardigan.

Sounds better on paper

A modern-day version of the Village People was arrested last
month in Glendale, Calif., for participating in an auto insurance ring. The group
included a doctor, a cab driver, a lawyer and a chiropractor.

The scam involved staging "paper collisions." This
was done by filing claims for accidents that never happened. Phony records of
medical treatment were supplied by a health professional in the group, and then
one of the lawyers would submit the fraudulent claim to an insurance company.
The plan worked so well, it took two insurance companies and 120 police
officers 11 months to crack the ring.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the
average driver in Los Angeles pays an extra $300 a year to make up for this
sort of insurance fraud.

Loud and proud

There's a new form of drag racing that offers the chance to
hear Skynard the way you've always wanted. It's called "dB drag racing"
and it doesn't actually involve racing. The winning car is the one with the
loudest stereo system.

Drivers completely rebuild their cars for these
competitions, powering them with enough juice to operate a small apartment
complex. To keep the sound in the car, extra-thick glass has to be used and
concrete is poured into the doors and floor of the vehicles.

If you want to check out a "race," there will be
several in Waynesboro, Ga., over the next four months. Just a warning: last
season's winner registered 177.7 decibels, the equivalent of a rocket

Tips from the road

This month we examine a German maneuver for fooling police
when you're caught driving without a license.

Last month a 25-year-old man, cruising down a highway in
Dillenburg with a female companion, was selected for a random breath test at a
police checkpoint. Once a police car had pulled alongside the man's car to
guide him to the checkpoint, the couple realized the driver didn't have a
license. So while maintaining their 50 mph driving speed, the pair proceeded to
switch seats. The driver climbed into the passenger seat and the woman climbed
into the driver's seat, all while a baby slept soundly in the back seat.

Not surprisingly, the officer driving alongside witnessed
the exchange and the man was arrested. But with the right window tinting, this
maneuver could come in handy in some real sticky situations. style="mso-spacerun: yes">  

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