Hard to believe, but another year has passed. For those who don't know, the Darwin Awards are given every year to the person(s) who died (or almost died) in the stupidest way, thus enhancing the gene pool by their absence.

NOMINEE No. 1:
"San Jose Mercury News":
An unidentified man, using a shotgun like a club to break a former girlfriend's windshield, accidentally shot himself to death when the gun discharged, blowing a hole in his gut.

NOMINEE No. 2:
"Kalamazoo Gazette":
James Burns, 34, (a mechanic) of Alamo, Mich., was killed in March as he was trying to repair what police describe as a "farm type truck."

Burns got a friend to drive the truck on a highway while Burns hung underneath so that he could ascertain the source of a troubling noise. Burns' clothes caught on something, however, and the other man found Burns "wrapped in the drive shaft."

NOMINEE No. 3:
"Hickory Daily Record":
Ken Charles Barger, 47, accidentally shot himself to death in December in Newton, N.C. Awakening to the sound of a ringing telephone beside his bed, he reached for the phone but grabbed instead a Smith Wesson .38 Special, which discharged when he drew it to his ear.

NOMINEE No. 4:
"UPI, Toronto":
Police said a lawyer demonstrating the safety of windows in a downtown Toronto skyscraper crashed through a pane with his shoulder and plunged 24 floors to his death. A police spokesman said Garry Hoy, 39, fell into the courtyard of the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower early Friday evening as he was explaining the strength of the building's windows to visiting law students. Hoy previously has conducted demonstration of window strength according to police reports. Peter Lawyers, managing partner of the firm Holden Day Wilson, told the Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy was "one of the best and brightest" embers of the 200-man association.

NOMINEE No. 5:
"Bloomburg News Service":
A terrible diet and room with no ventilation are being blamed for the death of a man who was killed by his own gas. There was no mark on his body but an autopsy showed large amounts of methane gas in his system.

His diet had consisted primarily of beans and cabbage (and a couple of other things). It was just the right combination of foods. It appears that the man died in his sleep from breathing the poisonous cloud that was hanging over his bed. Had he been outside or had his windows been opened, it wouldn't have been fatal. But the man was shut up in his near airtight bedroom. According to the article, "He was a big man with a huge capacity for creating "this deadly gas." Three of the rescuers got sick and one was hospitalized.

NOMINEE No. 6:
"The News of the Weird":
Michael Anderson Godwin made news of the Weird posthumously. He had spent several years awaiting South Carolina's electric chair on a murder conviction before having his sentence reduced to life in prison. While sitting on a metal toilet in his cell and attempting to fix his small TV set, he bit into a wire and was electrocuted.

NOMINEE NO. 7:
"The Indianapolis Star":
A cigarette lighter may have triggered fatal explosion in Dunkirk, Indiana. A Jay County man using a cigarette lighter to check the barrel of a muzzleloader was killed Monday night when the weapon discharged in his face, sheriff's investigators said. Gregory David Pryor, 19, died in his parents' rural Dunkirk home about 11:30 pm. Investigators said Pryor was cleaning a 54-caliber muzzleloader that had not been firing properly. He was using the lighter to look into the barrel when the gunpowder ignited.

NOMINEE No. 8:
"Reuters, Mississauga, Ontario":
A man cleaning a bird feeder on the balcony of his condominium apartment in this Toronto suburb slipped and fell 23 stories to his death. Stefan Macko, 55, was standing on a wheeled chair when the accident occurred, said Inspector D'Arcy Honer of the Peel regional police. "It appears the chair moved and he went over the balcony," Honer said.

NOMINEE No.9:
"Arkansas Democrat Gazette":
Two local men were seriously injured when their pick-up truck left the road and struck a tree near Cotton Patch on State Highway 38 early

Monday morning. Woodruff County deputy Dovey Snyder reported the accident shortly after midnight Monday. Thurston Poole, 33, of Des Arc and Billy Ray Wallis, 38, of Little Rock are listed in serious condition at Baptist Medical Center. The accident occurred as the two men were returning to Des Arc after a frog-gigging trip. On an overcast Sunday night, Poole's pick-up truck headlights malfunctioned. The two men concluded that the headlight fuse on the older model truck had burned out. As a replacement fuse was not available, Wallis noticed that the .22 caliber bullet from his pistol fit perfectly into the fuse box next to the steering wheel column. Upon inserting the bullet, the headlights again began to operate properly and the two men proceeded on eastbound toward the White River Bridge. After traveling approximately 20 miles and just before crossing the river, the bullet apparently overheated, discharged and struck Poole in the right testicle. The vehicle swerved sharply to the right exiting the pavement and striking a tree. Poole suffered only minor cuts and abrasions from the accident, but will require surgery to repair the other wound. Wallis sustained a broken clavicle and was treated and released. "Thank God we weren't on that bridge when Thurston shot his balls off or we might both be dead" stated Wallis. "I've been a trooper for ten years in this part of the world, but this is a first for me. I can't believe that those two would admit how this accident happened," said Snyder. Upon being notified of the wreck, Lavinia, Poole's wife, asked how many frogs the boys had caught and did anyone get them from the truck. (Way to go, Lavinia!)


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