The Darwin Awards
These prestigious awards presented annually (and posthumously) recognize those people, who through their stupid and inane actions kill themselves, thus improving society by removing their genes from the gene pool.
(We will be expanding this page to include awards from previous and future years.)
Disclaimer: These are reported to be true occurrences, however, as with so many "facts" transported over the electronic super highway these may be subject to scrutiny. There are many sources of such awards and as I draw from multiple sources I have found multiple winners in the various categories. I hope you will allow these to tickle your funny bones--but alas please do not die laughing or you may find your name among the winners ;)
2000 Darwin Award Nominees
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 rumbling 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 had 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" members of the 200-man
NOMINEE No. 5: [Bloomberg 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: ["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 a fatal explosion in
Dunkirk, Indiana. A Jay County man using a cigarette lighter to check the barrel
of a muzzle loader 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 p.m. 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.
AND FINALLY: [Arkansas Democrat Gazette] Two local men were seriously injured when their pickup 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. After inserting the bullet, the headlights again began to operate properly and the two men proceeded toward the White River bridge. After traveling about 20 miles and just before crossing the river, the bullet apparently overheated, discharged and struck Poole in the right testicle. The vehicle swerved sharply 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).
1999 Award Nominees
(who did not win)
(September, 1999) A a 41-year-old Detroit man got stuck and drowned in two feet of water after squeezing head first through an 18-inch-wide sewer grate to retrieve his car keys.
(October, 1999) A 49-year-old San Francisco stockbroker, who "totally zoned out when he ran," according to his wife, accidentally jogged off a 200-foot-high cliff on his daily run.
(Date unknown, Buxton, NC) A man died on a beach when an 8-foot-deep hole he had dug into the sand caved in as he sat inside it. Beachgoers said Daniel Jones, 21, dug the hole for fun, or protection from the wind, and had been sitting in a beach chair at the bottom Thursday afternoon when it collapsed, burying him beneath 5 feet of sand. People on the beach, on the outer banks, used their hands and shovels, trying to claw their way to Jones, a resident of Woodbridge, VA, but could not reach him. It took rescue workers using heavy equipment almost an hour to free him while about 200 people looked on. Jones was pronounced dead at a hospital.
(February, 1999) Santiago Alvarado, 24, was killed in Lompoc, CA, as he fell face-first through the ceiling of a bicycle shop he was burglarizing. Death was caused when the long flashlight he had placed in his mouth (to keep his hands free) rammed into the base of his skull as he hit the floor.
According to police in Dahlonega, GA, ROTC cadet Nick Berrena, 20, was stabbed to death in January by fellow cadet Jeffrey Hoffman, 23, who was trying to prove that a knife could not penetrate the flak vest that Berrena was wearing.
Sylvester Briddell, Jr., 26, was killed in February in Selbyville, Del, as he won a bet with friends who said he would not put a revolver loaded with four bullets into his mouth and pull the trigger.
In February, according to police in Windsor, Ontario, Daniel Kolta, 27, and Randy Taylor, 33, died in a head-on collision, thus earning a tie in the game of chicken they were playing with their snowmobiles.
In September, a 7-year-old boy fell off a 100-foot-high bluff near Ozark, Ark., after he lost his grip swinging on a cross that marked the spot where another person had fallen to his death in 1990.
Ljubljana, Slovenia - A passionate angler at an eastern Slovenian lake caught a fish so big that he drowned trying to reel it in, the state-run news agency reported Tuesday. Determined to land the sheatfish, a type of catfish, the 47-year-old fisherman walked into the lake after hooking it and refused to let go when it pulled him under, the STA news agency, quoted a friend of Franc Filipic as saying. The friend, who was not identified, said Filipic's last words before he drowned were: "Now I've got him!" Police and divers found his body after a two-day search. The fish was not found.
unincorporated Fox Lake, Illinois, 28-year-old Daniel Wyman drowned after he and
a companion inadvertently blew a hole in the bottom of their boat with an M-250
firecracker. The M-250 firecracker is the equivalent of one-fourth of a stick of
dynamite. Daniel Wyman and his friend threw the firecracker into the water near
their 14-foot aluminum rowboat. The boat was caught by a gust of wind that
pushed the boat over the explosive. The boat was not equipped with life
preservers; Wyman, who could not swim, drowned when the boat sank. His companion
swam to shore and was taken to Northern Illinois Medical Center in McHenry for
Lake Fire Capt. Thomas Preidis said that the device probably had floated back to
the surface when it exploded; otherwise the cushion of water between the
explosive and the boat probably would have prevented a breach of the hull.
"We really don't know why it happened," Preidis said. "It's
getting close to the 4th of July, and people like to blow off fireworks. When
you throw an M-250 in the water it makes a nice big geyser. Then again, they may
have been trying to scare fish to the surface."
More "Also Rans"
people were injured in a string of related bizarre accidents. Sherry Moeller was
admitted with a head wound caused by flying masonry, Tim Vegas was diagnosed
with a mild case of whiplash and contusions on his chest, arms and face, Bryan
Corcoran suffered torn gum tissue, and Pamela Klesick's first two fingers of her
right hand had been bitten off. Moeller had just dropped her husband off for his
first day of work and, in addition to a good-bye kiss, she flashed her breasts
at him. "I'm still not sure why I did it," she said later "I was
really close to the car, so didn't think anyone would see. Besides, it couldn't
have been for more than two seconds".
However, cab driver Vegas did see and lost control of his cab,running over the
curb and into the corner of the Johnson Medical Building. Klesick, a dental
technician, was cleaning Corcoran's teeth. The crash of the cab against the
building made her jump, tearing Corcoran's gums with a cleaning pick. In shock,
he bit down, severing two fingers from Klesick's hand. Moeller's wound was
caused by a falling piece of the medical building.
La Grange, GA - Attorney Antonio Mendoza was released from a trauma center after
having a cell phone removed from his rectum. "My dog drags the thing all
over the house," he said later. "He must have dragged it into the
shower. I slipped on the tile, tripped against the dog and sat down right on the
thing." The extraction took more than three hours due to the fact that the
cover to Mr. Mendoza's phone had opened during insertion. "He was a real
trooper during the entire episode," said Dr. Dennis Crobe. "Tony just
cracked jokes and really seemed to be enjoying himself. Three times during the
extraction his phone rang and each time, he made jokes about it that just had us
rolling on the floor. By the time we finished, we really did expect to find an
answering machine in there".
TACOMA, WA - Kerry Bingham, had been drinking with several friends when one of
them said they knew a person who had bungee-jumped from the Tacoma Narrows
Bridge in the middle of traffic. The conversation grew more heated and at least
10 men trooped along the walkway of the bridge at 4:30 am. Upon arrival at the
midpoint of the ridge they discovered that no one had brought bungee rope.
Bingham, who had continued drinking, volunteered and pointed out that a coil of
lineman's cable lay nearby. One end of the cable was secured around Bingham's
leg and the other end was tied to the bridge.
His fall lasted 40 feet before the cable tightened and tore his foot off at the
ankle. He miraculously survived his fall into the icy river water and was
rescued by two nearby fishermen. "All I can say," said Bingham,
"is that God was watching out for me on that night. There's just no other
explanation for it." Bingham's foot was never located.
In Guthrie, Okla, in October, Jason Heck tried to kill a millipede with a shot from his 22-caliber rifle, but the bullet ricocheted off a rock near the hole, and hit his pal Antonio Martinez in the head, fracturing his skull.
In Elyria, Ohio, in October, Martyn Eskins, attempting to clean out cobwebs in his basement, declined to use a broom in favor of a propane torch and caused a fire that burned the first and second floors of his house.
Paul Stiller, 47, was hospitalized in Andover Township, NJ, in September, and his wife Bonnie was also injured, by a quarter-stick of dynamite that blew up in their car. While driving around at 2 AM, the bored couple lit the dynamite and tried to toss it out the window to see what would happen, but they apparently failed to notice that the window was closed.
In Betulia, Colombia, an annual festival in November includes five days of amateur bullfighting. This year, no bull was killed, but dozens of matadors were injured, including one gored in the head, and one Bobbittized. Said one participant, "It's just one bull against [a town of] a thousand morons."
(15 July 1999, Alabama) A 25-year-old soldier died of injuries sustained from a 3-story fall, precipitated by his attempt to spit farther than his buddy. His plan was to hurl himself towards a metal guardrail while expectorating, in order to add momentum to his saliva. In a tragic miscalculation, his momentum carried him right over the railing, which he caught hold of for a few moments before his grip slipped, sending him plummeting 24 feet to the cement below. The military specialist had a blood alcohol content of 0.14%, impairing his judgment and paving the way for his opportunity to win a Darwin Award.
(11 August 1999) A 42-year-old man killed himself watching the eclipse while driving near Kaiserslautern, Germany. A witness driving behind him stated that the man was weaving back and forth as he concentrated on the partially occluded sun, when he suddenly accelerated and hit the bridge pier. He had apparently just donned his solar viewers, which are dark enough to totally obscure everything except the sun.
(25 May 1999, Ukraine) A fisherman in Kiev electrocuted himself while fishing in the river Tereblya. The 43-year-old man connected cables to the main power supply of his home, and trailed the end into the river. The electric shock killed the fish, which floated belly-up to the top of the water. The man waded in to collect his catch, neglecting to remove the live wire, and tragically suffered the same fate as the fish. In an ironic twist, the man was fishing for a mourning meal to commemorate the first anniversary of his mother-in-law's death.
(16 August 1999, Germany) A hunter from Bad Urach was shot
dead by his own dog on Monday. The 51-year-old man was found sprawled next to his car in
the Black Forest. A gun barrel was pointing out the window, and his bereaved dog was
howling inside the car. The animal is presumed to have pressed the trigger with its paw.
Police have ruled out foul play.
(1991, Nicosia, Cypress) Under similar circumstances, an Iranian hunter was shot to
death near Tehran by a snake that coiled around his shotgun as he pinned the reptile to
the ground. Another hunter reported that the victim, named Ali, tried to catch the snake
alive by pressing the butt of his shotgun behind its head. The snake coiled around the
butt and pulled the trigger, shooting Ali in the head.
(August 1999, Australia) Drinking oneself to death need not be a long lingering process. Allan, a 33-year-old computer technician, showed his competitive spirit by dying of competitive spirits. A Sydney, Australia hotel bar held a drinking competition, known as Feral Friday, with a 100-minute time limit and a sliding point scale ranging from 1 point for beer to 8 points for hard liquor. Allan stood and cheered his winning total of 236, (winners never quit!) which had also netted him the literally staggering blood alcohol level of 0.353, 7 times greater than Australia's legal driving limit of 0.05%. After several trips to the usual temple of overindulgence, the bathroom, Allan was helped back to his workplace to sleep it off, a condition that became permanent. A forensic pharmacologist estimated that after downing 34 beers, 4 bourbons, and 17 shots of tequila within 1 hour and 40 minutes, his blood alcohol level would have been 0.41 to 0.43 but Allan had vomited several times after the drinking stopped. The cost paid by Allan was much higher than that of the hotel, which was fined the equivalent of $13,100 US dollars for not intervening. It is not known whether Allan required any further embalming.
(28 January 1999, London) A flock of sheep charged a well-meaning British farmer's wife and pushed her over a cliff to her death. Betty Stobbs, 67, was charged by dozens of sheep as she brought them a bale of hay on the back of a power bike. The sheep rushed forward and rammed the vehicle, knocking Betty and her bike over the edge of a vacant 100' quarry near Durham, in northeastern England. "I saw the sheep surround the bike. The next thing she was tumbling down the incline," neighbor Alan Renfry told reporters.
1999 First Runners Up Award
(22 March 1999, Phnom Penh) Decades of armed strife has littered Cambodia with unexploded munitions and ordnance. Authorities warn citizens not to tamper with the devices. Three friends recently spent an evening sharing drinks and exchanging insults at a local cafe in the southeastern province of Svay Rieng. Their companionable arguing continued for hours, until one man pulled out a 25-year-old unexploded anti-tank mine found in his backyard. He tossed it under the table, and the three men began playing Russian Roulette, each tossing down a drink and then stamping on the mine. The other villagers fled in terror. Minutes later, the explosive detonated with a tremendous boom, killing the three men in the bar. "Their wives could not even find their flesh because the blast destroyed everything," the Rasmei Kampuchea newspaper reported.
Los Angeles, CA Ani Saduki, 33, and his brother decided to remove a bees' nest from a shed on their property with the aid of a pineapple. A pineapple is an illegal firecracker which is the explosive equivalent of one-half stick of dynamite. They ignited the fuse and retreated to watch from inside their home, behind a window some 10 feet away from the hive/shed. The concussion of the explosion shattered the window inwards, seriously lacerating Ani. Deciding Mr. Saduki needed stitches, the brothers headed out to go to a nearby hospital. While walking towards their car, Ani was stung three times by the surviving bees. Unbeknownst to either brother, Ani was allergic to bee venom, and died of suffocation en-route to the hospital.
Derrick L. Richards, 28, was charged in April in Minneapolis with third-degree murder in the death of his beloved cousin, Kenneth E. Richards. According to police, Derrick suggested a game of Russian roulette and put a semiautomatic pistol (instead of the more traditional revolver) to Ken's head and fired.
Philipsburg, NJ An unidentified 29 year old male choked to death on a sequined pastie he had orally removed from an exotic dancer at a local establishment. "I didn't think he was going to eat it," the dancer identified only as "Ginger" said, adding "He was really drunk."
Moscow, Russia-A drunk security man asked a colleague at the Moscow bank they were guarding to stab his bulletproof vest to see if it would protect him against a knife attack. It didn't, and the 25-year-old guard died of a heart wound. (It's good to see the Russians getting into the spirit of the Darwin Awards.)
France, Jacques LeFevrier left nothing to chance when he decided to commit suicide. He stood at the top of a tall cliff and tied a noose around his neck. He tied the other end of the rope to a large rock. He drank some poison and set fire to his clothes. He even tried to shoot himself at the last moment. He jumped and fired the pistol. The bullet missed him completely and cut through the rope above him. Free of the threat of hanging, he plunged into the sea. The sudden dunking extinguished the flames and made him vomit the poison. He was dragged out of the water by a kind fisherman and was taken to a hospital, where he died of hypothermia.
Renton, Washington, USA. A Renton, Washington man tried to commit a robbery. This was probably his first attempt, as suggested by the fact that he had no previous record of violent crime, and by his terminally stupid choices as listed below: 1. The target was H&J Leather & Firearms...a gun shop. 2. The shop was full of customers, in a state where a substantial portion of the adult population is licensed to carry concealed handguns in public places. 3. To enter the shop, he had to step around a marked Police patrol car parked at the front door. 4. An officer in uniform was standing next to the counter, having coffee before reporting to duty. Upon seeing the officer, the would-be robber announced a holdup and fired a few wild shots. The officer and a clerk promptly returned fire, removing him from the gene pool. Several other customers also drew their guns, but didn't fire. No one else was hurt.
1999 Darwin Award Winners
(5 September 1999, Jerusalem) The switch away from daylight savings time caused consternation among terrorist groups this year. At precisely 5:30 Israel time on Sunday, two coordinated car bombs exploded in different cities, killing three terrorists who were transporting the bombs. It was initially believed that the devices had been detonated prematurely by klutzy amateurs. A closer look revealed the truth behind the untimely explosions. Three days before, Israel had made a premature switch from daylight savings time to standard time in order to accommodate a week of Slihot, involving pre-sunrise prayers. Palestinians refused to "live on Zionist time." Two weeks of scheduling havoc ensued. The bombs had been prepared in a Palestine-controlled area, and set on Daylight Savings time. The confused drivers had already switched to standard time. As a result, the cars were still en-route when the explosives detonated, delivering to the terrorists their well-deserved demise.