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News of the Weird

He Can’t Say He Wasn’t Warned

Some people can get pretty territorial about their food. So it appeared in Colleton County, South Carolina, on Sept. 29, when Ryan Dean Langdale, 19, warned his 17-year-old cousin not to eat his salt and vinegar potato chips. “Do not touch my chips, or I’ll shoot you,” Langdale told his cousin, according to a sheriff’s incident report. The Charleston Post and Courier reported Langdale then went into another room, retrieved a rifle and “the rifle went off,” according to the sheriff’s document. Langdale summoned help but told police his cousin had accidentally shot himself while cleaning the rifle. Officers didn’t think the story held up: The pathway of the bullet through the victim’s chest was “impossible” if he had mistakenly shot himself, said sheriff’s Maj. J.W. Chapman. Sure enough, when the victim was questioned after undergoing surgery, he told officers the savory snacks were at the center of the dispute. Langdale surrendered on Oct. 10 and was charged with, among other crimes, attempted murder. [Charleston Post and Courier, 10/10/2018]

Compelling Explanations

Yury Zhokhov, 41, a factory worker in Donetsk, Russia, was found kneeling in a field in early October with a knife handle sticking out of the top of his head. Zhokhov was conscious, and when questioned by police, he revealed he had stuck the 8-inch blade in himself. He was having trouble breathing through his nose, he explained, and hoped to make another hole he could breathe through. But the knife became stuck, and he couldn’t remove it. reports doctors at the local hospital were afraid to touch the knife for fear of killing Zhokhov or causing brain damage. “It was horrific,” a hospital spokesperson told local media. X-rays showed the blade “exactly between the two hemispheres of the brain.” Specialists were called and Zhokhov survived the surgery without apparent brain damage, although surgeons are concerned about infection. [, 10/9/2018]

Just Kidding

An alert (or nosy) passerby called police on Oct. 10 after seeing staff through the window of a Natwest bank in Birmingham, England, hiding and cowering under their desks. Officers arrived at the bank in hopes of catching a robber red-handed, but instead were told the workers were participating in a team-building game of hide-and-seek. West Midlands Police Chief Inspector Dave Keen tweeted that, although the incident was a misunderstanding, the citizen made “the right call,” reported Metro News. [Metro News, 10/10/2018]

Weird Science

In Olympic National Park in Washington, the mountain goat population has baaa-llooned to an unnatural 700 or more animals. The park is also becoming more popular with humans, which has led to an unsavory consequence: In their constant quest for salt and other minerals, the goats have developed a strong taste for human urine and sweat left behind by hikers and campers. Goats will lick clothing and paw at the ground where people have urinated or disposed of cooking water, making them a nuisance, according to the National Park Service. Popular Mechanics also reports that the increased likelihood of human-goat interactions has park officials worried, especially since a goat gored a hiker to death in 2010. The answer: Park officials are tagging, blindfolding and airlifting mountain goats to nearby Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, which should be more hospitable to their needs. [Popular Mechanics, 9/28/2018]

Smooth Reaction

On Oct. 12, an Air India Express pilot guided a Boeing 737 up and away from Tiruchirappalli International Airport in Tamil Nadu, India — but not ENOUGH up and away. As the plane took off shortly after midnight, it hit the top of a 5-foot-tall perimeter wall and destroyed a small landing guide tower. The Washington Post reported that, despite the audible collision, the pilot told the airport director the plane’s systems were functioning normally and he was continuing toward Dubai, across the Indian Ocean. “But we found some parts of the plane, like an antenna, on the ground,” the director said. Finally, about two hours into the flight, ground control convinced the pilot to return to India, where the plane landed in Mumbai. Indeed, there was a huge gash in the plane’s underbelly, and mesh fencing was wrapped around the landing gear. All 130 passengers arrived unharmed and were booked on other flights, and the pilot and co-pilot have been grounded pending a review. [The Washington Post, 10/13/2018]

Questionable Judgment

Hatam Hamad, 56, a Palestinian and American dual citizen, made a name for himself on Oct. 10 as he flew from New Orleans to Heathrow Airport in London, reported Fox News. Six hours into the flight, after swigging five servings of wine, Hamad approached New Orleans TV executive Joel Vilmenay, who was sitting with his wife and two children. “This man had his penis out and exposed within 3 inches of my face,” Vilmenay said in his statement to the Uxbridge Magistrates Court prosecutor, Wendy Barrett. Vilmenay said he stood up and asked Hamad what he was doing, whereupon Hamad “responded by grunting” and exposed himself to another passenger. At that moment, Hamad “slapped (Vilmenay) in the chest with some force.” The cabin crew were alerted, and Hamad was removed to the back of the plane, where he was guarded for the remainder of the flight. Hamad, who has no previous convictions, at first denied having assaulted anyone, but later admitted his guilt, saying he had not drunk alcohol for three months but was a nervous flyer. His prison sentence was suspended, but he was ordered to pay Vilmenay $789. [Fox News, 10/14/2018]

The Continuing Crisis

In an apparent attempt to destroy what little brainpower he had left, 26-year-old Brandon McVay of Council Bluffs, Iowa, ate a Tide Pod, prompting a trip to the hospital. But while he was being treated in the critical care unit, McVay went on a rampage early on Oct. 4, causing thousands of dollars of damage to medical equipment, according to the Omaha World-Herald. A nurse told the responding police officer that McVay “was yelling loudly” as he broke objects in his room before proceeding to the hallway. Keyboards, computer monitors and glass valued at more than $7,500 were found littering the hallway, where McVay was subdued by security before police arrived. McVay was arrested and held at the hospital on charges of second-degree criminal mischief and disorderly conduct in a place of business. [Omaha World-Herald, 10/12/2018]

People Different From Us

West Virginia MetroNews reported that, for Jackie Fullmer, 37, of Fairmont, West Virginia, Oct. 9 started with trying to steal car keys from a woman at knife point. When police caught up to her, she ran toward their car with a hatchet and knife, prompting a deputy to shoot her with a stun gun. Fullmer turned to verbal attacks while being transported to the Fairmont Police Department, warning officers she was going to stab them in the neck and watch their “blood drain as she drank it” — which, as it turns out, she could have done, because she had a knife hidden between her buttocks. That weapon was found during booking, and Fullmer admitted she had slashed the seat belt in the police cruiser with it before threatening to slit the officers’ throats. She was charged with threats of terrorist acts and attempted robbery. [West Virginia MetroNews, 10/9/2018]

People With Issues

As Hermes Callijas-Gasperin’s mother cooked his dinner on Oct. 8 in Bradenton, Florida, she accidentally bumped into her 22-year-old son. That’s when he lost it, the New York Post reported, pelting her with the sausages she was frying and putting his hands on her neck. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office said Callijas-Gasperin told officers he just wanted his mom to apologize, but he was arrested and charged with misdemeanor domestic battery. [New York Post, 10/13/2018]