THE DARWIN AWARDS are given every year to bestow upon (the remains of) that individual, who through single-minded self-sacrifice, has done the most to remove undesirable elements from the human gene pool.
Runners-up: [AP, Mammoth Lakes] A San Anselmo man died yesterday when he hit a lift tower at the Mammoth Mountain ski area while riding down the slope on a foam pad, authorities said.
Matthew David Hubal, 22, was pronounced dead at Centinela Mammoth Hospital. The accident occurred about 3 a.m., the Mono County Sheriff's Department said.
Hubal and his friends apparently had hiked up a ski run called Stump Alley and undid some yellow foam protectors from the lift towers, said Lieutenant Mike Donnelly of the Mammoth Lakes Police Department. The pads are used to protect skiers who might hit the towers. The group apparently used the pads to slide down the ski slope and Hubal crashed into a tower. It has since been investigated that the tower he hit was the one with its pad removed.
[AP, St. Louis] Robert Puelo, 32, was apparently being disorderly in a St. Louis market. When the clerk threatened to call police, Puelo grabbed a hot dog, shoved it in his mouth, and walked out without paying for it. Police found him unconscious in front of the store: paramedics removed the six-inch wiener from his throat, where it had choked him to death.
[Unknown] To poacher Marino Malerba, who shot a stag standing above him on an overhanging rock -- and was killed instantly when it fell on him.
======================== Special Merit ======================== [Associated Press, Kincaid, W. VA] Blasting Cap Explodes in Man's Mouth at Party
A man at a party popped a blasting cap into his mouth and bit down, triggering an explosion that blew off his lips, teeth and tongue, state police said Wednesday.
Jerry Stromyer, 24, of Kincaid, bit the blasting cap as a prank during a party late Tuesday night, said Cpl. M.D. Payne.
"Another man had it in an aquarium, hooked to a battery, and was trying to explode it," Payne said. "It wouldn't go off and this guy said, "I'll show you how to set it off."
"He put it in his mouth and bit down. It blew all his teeth off, his tongue and his lips," Payne said. Stromyer was listed in guarded condition Wednesday with extensive facial injuries, according to a spokesman at Charleston Area Medical Division. "I just can't imagine anyone doing something like that," Payne said.
[UPI, Portland, OR] Doctors at Portland's University Hospital said Wednesday an Oregon man shot through the skull by a hunting arrow is lucky to be alive, and will be released soon from the hospital.
Tony Roberts, 25, lost his right eye last weekend during an initiation into a men's rafting club, Mountain Men Anonymous, in Grants Pass, Ore. A friend tried to shoot a beer can off his head, but the arrow entered Roberts' right eye. Doctors said had the arrow gone 1 millimeter to the left, a major blood vessel would have cut and Roberts would have died instantly.
Neurosurgeon Dr. Johnny Delashaw at the University Hospital in Portland said the arrow went through 8 to 10 inches of brain, with the tip protruding at the rear of his skill, yet somehow managed to miss all major blood vessels. Delashaw also said had Robert tried to pull the arrow out on his own he surely would have killed himself.
Roberts admitted afterwards he and his friends had been drinking that afternoon. Said Roberts, "I feel so dumb about this."
No charges have been filed but the Josephine County district attorney's office said the initiation stunt is under investigation.