Mental Floss

The Weird Week in Review

Miss Cellania
Sergi Karplyuk
Sergi Karplyuk / Sergi Karplyuk

Vehicle Flattened Between Two Semis

And the driver is fine. Despite his Chevy Silverado being crushed to the size of a smart car, Kaleb Whitby only received a few cuts and bruises in the I-84 accident near Baker City, Oregon.

More than 100 people were involved in the Saturday morning pileup on Interstate 84, about 33 miles east of Baker City. At least three separate collisions involving more than 20 vehicles, most of them semi-trucks, injured a dozen people.

Black ice conditions led to the multiple accidents. In Whitby’s collision, a tractor-trailer jackknifed across the highway. Whitby slid into the truck. Another tractor-trailer saw the first truck and slid sideways into the first truck, crushing Whitby’s pickup. After ascertaining that Whitby was alive and not seriously injured, the second truck driver, Sergi Karplyuk, asked if he could take a picture. Karplyuk helped Whitby free himself of the crushed pickup within a half-hour. He and Karplyuk joined other bystanders to help injured people. Whitby was checked out at a hospital later and came home with two band-aids on his finger. You can read the details, and see more pictures, at Oregon Live.

German Man Wins Right to Pee Standing Up

A court case in Germany pitted a tenant against a landlord on the proper way for men to urinate. The landlord had confiscated €1,900 of his tenant’s €3,000 deposit due to damage to the marble bathroom floor, which he says resulted from urine splash. The tenant sued. Instead of arguing just on the responsibility for the floor damage, the court case focused on a man’s right to be a “Stehpinkler,” or standing urinator, when the landlord wanted him to be a “Sitzpinkler.” The landlord even called a technical expert to testify that the floor damage was indeed caused by urine. The judge sided with the tenant, and said in his conclusion that the landlord should have warned the tenant about the floor’s sensitivity to body fluids.

State Senator Contests DUI on Privilege Law

Kentucky state senator Brandon Smith was arrested by Kentucky State Troopers after they pulled his car over for speeding. Police say he smelled of alcohol, and charged Smith with DUI. The stop happened to be on the first day of the state legislative session earlier this month. On Wednesday, Smith appeared in court and cited an 1891 statute in his defense. The law, enshrined in the state constitution, protects General Assembly members from arrest during legislative sessions, speeches, and travel to and from those events, “in all cases except treason, felony, breach or surety of the peace.” The judge agreed to delay the case while the matter is considered.

Mountain Rescue Team Saves Woman from Bell Tower

An elderly bell ringer at All Saints Church in Brailsford, Derbyshire, UK, was injured while performing her duties on Sunday. She was caught in the rope and lifted off the floor, then landed hard, injuring her hip and arm. The spiral stairs leading to the 11th-century bell tower are too narrow for an ambulance crew to remove the injured woman. So they called out the experts: the Derby Mountain Rescue Team, composed of unpaid volunteer mountain climbers trained in rescue operations. A spokesman for the team said, 

"A local team member was first on scene and provided medical attention whilst other team members arrived to evacuate the casualty. "She was placed in a vacuum mattress - effectively an all-body splint - and carried down the stairs to be handed over to an EMAS ambulance crew. "As we say these days, mountain rescue - more than just mountains."

BBC News has a video report.

Thieves Steal $28,000 Worth of Hockey Sticks

In the most Canadian of crimes since the maple syrup heist, the Marc Sport store in Gatineau, Quebec, was the victim of a burglary in which almost a hundred high-end hockey sticks worth around $28,000 were stolen. The Gatineau police say that the theft happened on the suspects’ second attempt on January 12, when they made off with the sports equipment in a white cargo van. The suspects are described as two people wearing dark clothing, one wearing a dark tuque and balaclava, and the other wearing "Baffin" style winter boots.

Police Chase Ends in Prison Parking Lot

Police in Toledo, Ohio, attempted to pull over a car on Wednesday for failing to use a turn signal. Instead, the car sped up and led police on a chase. The vehicle rammed through a gate at the Toledo Correctional Institution and drove around the perimeter, looking for a way out. The police stopped inside the gate, which had swung to close and damaged the squad car. The fleeing vehicle was eventually stopped by traffic spikes in the prison parking lot, which punctured all four tires. The driver, 33-year-old Jason Davis, was charged with failure to use a turn signal, plus resisting arrest, fleeing, vandalism, and drug possession, among other charges.