Man falls from balcony, dies in spitting contest

A man in Mount Prospect, Ill., fell over his second-story balcony and died Tuesday during a spitting contest, according to local police.

Bartosz Drobek, 23, of the 1700 block of West Palm Drive was on the balcony of his apartment smoking cigarettes with his brother and a friend about 12:30 a.m. Monday. As Drobek was getting ready to spit, he lost his balance and fell about 20 feet, hitting his head on the pavement, said Mt. Prospect Police Officer Dirk Ollech.

Drobek was taken to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge in critical condition. He was pronounced dead shortly after noon Tuesday.

Although his fall is believed to be accidental, police are investigating it. An autopsy will be conducted Wednesday. — South Florida Sun-Sentinel

No word yet on whether alcohol was involved, though I wouldn’t doubt it. Bartosz Drobek posthumously receives today’s Stupid Person of the Day award.

Drunk scrapped evidence in drunk driving homicide case

Scott A. Weber, 25, of Independence, Mo., a suburb of Kansas City, was sentenced Tuesday to 120 days in jail, substance abuse treatment, and three years probation in the deaths of two pedestrians in a September 2004 drunk driving accident.

Weber, who had a previous conviction for driving while intoxicated, told police he did not remember leaving a friend’s house the night Roxanne M. Bradshaw, 47, and Juan G. Avila, 32, were killed. Before leaving, he had consumed a half-pint of bourbon and taken a muscle relaxer.

Police in suburban Liberty said Weber was “incoherent and confused’ and his vehicle was damaged when they stopped him that night.

Weber pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, drunken driving and leaving the scene of the crash. If he successfully completes probation, the convictions will be wiped from his record. — Associated Press

But there’s more. Prosecutors wanted to throw the book at him, but they agreed to the unusually light sentence because key evidence in the case, his car, was inadvertently sold for scrap.

The car was critical to the case because no witnesses could identify Weber as the driver, prosecutor Teresa Moore said.

The director of the city tow lot at the time of the mistake, Clay Ancell, resigned in January after he was arrested in a city-owned vehicle for allegedly driving while drunk on a suspended license. — Associated Press

That’s right, we have two drunk drivers today! One killed two people, and the other one let him get away with it. Clay Ancell, who was most likely drunk at work when the “mistake’ occurred, is most definitely the Stupid Person of the Day.

Three die on thin ice

In the northern latitudes, when winter comes, one can expect ice to form on top of local rivers and lakes. Many people enjoy going out on the ice to walk, skate, fish, and even drive across them. However, when you go out too early, and the ice isn’t thick enough to support your weight, then you run the risk of breaking the ice, falling through, and not being able to get out.

Three people died Friday in two separate accidents on ice-covered ponds in eastern Wisconsin.

In Cedar Grove, Wis., about 40 miles (64km) north of Milwaukee, Megan Obbink, 9, was skating on the ice on a local pond when she fell through. Her father, Brian Obbink, 44, went out to try to save her, but he too fell in. Both drowned, and rescuers pulled out their bodies Friday evening.

The ice was reported to be less than 3 inches (76mm) thick.

In a separate accident in Lyndon, Wis., about 10 miles (16km) northwest of Cedar Grove, Cody Lechler, 12, was riding an all-terrain vehicle across an ice-covered pond when he and the vehicle fell through. Rescuers recovered his body late Friday. He had been out hunting with an adult neighbor who was unnamed in news reports.

Today we have two Stupid People of the Day: Brian Obbink, who allowed his daughter to die needlessly, and then died himself; and the unnamed adult who will have to live with Cody’s death for the rest of his life.

“There is no such thing as safe ice,’ said Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Deputy Jim Opgenorth.

“I couldn’t get a real woman, so I got a dummy’

Michael James Plentyhorse, 18, of Sioux Falls, S.D., was arrested Monday, Nov. 14, after being found half-naked lying next to a female mannequin by a security guard at the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Sciences.

The guard observed Plentyhorse with his pants and underclothing down and lying next to the half-naked female mannequin, a police report states.

“There was inappropriate activity between him and the mannequin. That’s the only way I know how to put it,’ Sioux Falls police officer Loren McManus said.

Security staff at the Pavilion say they have noticed the same mannequin has previously been found undressed on several occasions, McManus said. — Argus Leader

You are a dummy. It’s not that hard to have a relationship with a real live human being, assuming you’ve developed the necessary social skills. (But that can take a lot of extra time for some people.) Michael James Plentyhorse is today’s Stupid Person of the Day.

Man who hit oncoming train with his head in 2002 does it again

A Stanfordville, N.Y., man was in stable condition Monday after an incident last Friday where in Poughkeepsie he leaned over into the path of an oncoming Metro-North train, suffering head injuries.

Parker T. Hall Houghtaling, 23, was recovering from his injuries at St. Francis Hospital Monday, where he was listed in stable condition. Houghtaling was waiting on the platform of the Poughkeepsie train station Friday when he stuck his head out and was hit by the 6:26 p.m. commuter train, according to authorities and eyewitnesses.

It wasn’t the first time. In 2002, he was waiting at the 51st Street subway station in Manhattan when he stuck his head out and was hit by a subway car. He was hospitalized with a shoulder injury, nose fractures and bruises, according to the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which runs Metro-North and the subway system. It was unclear Monday what led to the incident in the subway. . . .

On Friday, officers found four prescription drugs on Houghtaling — all legally prescribed to him. Authorities ordered toxicology tests in the hopes of determining whether the prescription drugs played a factor in Houghtaling getting too close to the incoming train.

There were several witnesses Friday.

“They saw him take steps toward the edge, they saw him step back, and they saw him lean into the train,’ Anders said, adding Houghtaling was standing and conscious when the train’s conductor and engineer found him. — Poughkeepsie Journal

If it were just once, I could see it being the medication, but clearly Parker T. Hall Houghtaling suffers from chronic stupidity, and that’s why he has won the Stupid Person of the Day award.

Drunk man wets bed, sets fire to house

You’re drunk. You pass out. You wake up with a splitting headache, and find what you drank the previous night is now all over the bed. What do you do?

If you’re one 60-year-old German man in Mülheim, you plug in a hair dryer, put it on the bed, and leave. And when you get back, your house has burned down.

A German man drank too much, wet his bed and set fire to his apartment while trying to dry his bedding, police in the western town of Muelheim said Monday.

“He was too drunk to go to the toilet,’ said a police spokesman. “The next morning he put a switched-on hairdryer on the bed to dry it and left the apartment.’ When the 60-year-old returned, his home and belongings were in flames.

Firemen eventually put out the blaze. — Reuters

The German, who was unnamed in news reports, is today’s Stupid Person of the Day.

Smoker attempts to open plane door mid-flight

Today’s Stupid Person of the Day is a French woman who has admitted attempting to open a plane door mid-flight in order to smoke a cigarette.

Sandrine Helene Sellies, 34, who has a fear of flying, had drunk alcohol and taken sleeping tablets ahead of the flight from Hong Kong to Brisbane.

She was seen on the Cathay Pacific plane walking towards a door with an unlit cigarette and a lighter.

She then began tampering with the emergency exit until she was stopped by a flight attendant. — BBC News

She pleaded guilty to endangering the safety of the aircraft and has been given a 12 month good behaviour bond.

As she is currently at the beginning of a 3 week holiday with her husband in Australia it is unclear whether or not she will be allowed on the plane on the way home!

Lies and the principals who believe the lying liars

Marlene Whitby, principal of William Penn Elementary School in Elizabeth, Pa., submitted her resignation Wednesday, after parading an 8 year old girl around to all the classes in the school and denouncing her as a liar and a thief. The girl’s accuser, another student, later admitted she falsely accused the victim.

Whitby and the school’s administration came under fire this month when the parents of third-grader Katie White protested that Whitby had not been punished for the September incident.

After the classmate accused the girl of stealing the $5, Whitby took her from room to room, calling her a liar and thief. The other child later recanted the story.

The girl’s father, Ryan White, said that when he spoke to Whitby she acknowledged that she didn’t look at a school bus video or talk to the bus driver to verify the theft accusation. . . .

Police had to be called to Wednesday’s board meeting because some in the crowd of about 70 people became upset when board President Lowell Meek said there would be no public comment on a personnel and discipline matter. — Associated Press

Anyone who’s been around children for more than a few minutes knows they make things up. Especially if they’re being mean to each other, which they do frequently. Marlene Whitby, who should have known better, is therefore today’s Stupid Person of the Day.

Failing high school? This could be your fate

Tasha Henderson, of Edmond, Okla., was distressed by her 14 year old daughter’s poor grades in school, her being late for class and mouthing off the teachers, and came up with a rather unique punishment.

She made Coretha stand at a busy Oklahoma City intersection Nov. 4 with a cardboard sign that read: “I don’t do my homework and I act up in school, so my parents are preparing me for my future. Will work for food.’

“This may not work. I’m not a professional,’ said Henderson, a 34-year-old mother of three. “But I felt I owed it to my child to at least try.’

In fact, Henderson has seen a turnaround in her daughter’s behavior in the past week and a half. But the punishment prompted letters and calls to talk radio from people either praising the woman or blasting her for publicly humiliating her daughter. . . .

Tasha Henderson said her daughter’s attendance has been perfect and her behavior has been better since the incident.

Coretha, a soft-spoken girl, acknowledged the punishment was humiliating but said it got her attention. “I won’t talk back,’ she said quietly, hanging her head. — Associated Press

It’s definitely unusual, and it seems to have worked. What’s the problem? Are we too afraid to punish our children for bad behavior anymore?

Counterfeiters send jammed printer for repair

It seems there are some very stupid criminals out there. They sent the printer they were using to print counterfeit notes in for repair because it was jammed. They forgot to remove the counterfeit bills that were jamming it first though!

Arizona authorities this week charged suspected members of a criminal ring thought responsible for 10 per cent of all fake money in the state after some members sent a printer, jammed with counterfeit bills, out for repair.

A three-month investigation by the U.S. Secret Service and the local sheriff’s office nabbed 10 suspects for crimes including forgery, weapons violations and drug charges, according to the Southwest Valley Republic. The ring of counterfeiters allegedly included two Wal-Mart cashiers who accepted the fake bills as payment for big-ticket items in order to put the faux money into circulation. The suspects would then go to a different Wal-Mart and return the items for cash, according to the news report. — SecurityFocus

[Editor’s note: While in this case the idiots left counterfeit currency in the printer when they sent it out for repair, manufacturers of color laser printers embed tracking codes onto every printed page, so that a counterfeit bill can be tracked back to the printer that produced it.]