xxxNews Of The Weirdxxx
Bizarre but true stories about real people collected by syndicated columnist Chuck Shepherd.
At 10 p.m. on Oct. 19, Ralph Parker, 93, in his Chevrolet Malibu, eased up to a tollbooth on Interstate 275 in St. Petersburg, Fla., inattentive to the fact that there was a dead body lodged in his windshield (the result of a collision about three miles away). According to police, Parker was off by about 10 miles when asked where he was and by two months on the date, and he thought the body had just fallen from the sky. Parker’s son, 66, said he was aware his father had been deteriorating mentally, yet Parker’s driver’s license was renewed last year through his age 99, based on Florida’s lax renewal policy (toughened for the state’s 54,000 age-80-and-up drivers only by a vision test). (By contrast, for example, Florida requires 16 hours’ training every two years for its licensed cosmetologists.)
Actor Robert Blake, testifying in October at the wrongful-death trial against him brought by the family of his ex-wife Bonnie Lee Bakley, said the reason why he had traces of gunshot residue on his hand after the murder was because he regularly plays with cap guns, according to a report in the New York Post. “Without sounding like I’m pretty weird, I missed my childhood. (F)or me, (toy soldiers and) cap guns bring it all back. If (that) makes me nuts, then label me.”
Neelesh Phadnis, 24, acting as his own lawyer, earned himself a conviction in Seattle in October for killing his parents, in large part (according to a Seattle Times story) because of his defense that the crimes were committed by, first, a gang of 400-pound Samoans, later augmented during his testimony to include their girlfriends, two whites, two blacks, a Native American and a transsexual, and later still, to be described as more than 30 armed Samoans. (They were all slow runners, too, for Phadnis said he outran them all to escape, despite being seriously wounded. When he finally summoned the police, he told the arriving officers that he was too tired and hungry to talk about his parents’ bodies and that they should “go home.”)
(Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa FL 33679 or [email protected] or go to www.NewsoftheWeird.com.) NEWS OF THE WEIRD