Matthew Fifield
Matthew Fifield

The Weird Week in Review

Matthew Fifield
Matthew Fifield

Trainy McTrainface

Say what you will about naming a research ship Boaty McBoatface, you have to admit it makes a lot of people smile. And that’s not a bad thing when circumstances try to put you in a bad mood. London’s South West Train service was delayed Tuesday, putting hundreds of commuters behind schedule. But renaming one of the trains trying to go from Portsmouth to Waterloo “Trainy McTrainface” lightened the mood for many of them. A spokeswoman for South West Trains confirmed that a train guard came up with the name for the day, but it is not permanent. What really lightened the mood was knowing that someone in the organization knew it was time to spread a smile, and cared enough to do it.   

A Couch Potato’s Nightmare

You can’t make this up. Two trucks collided on I-95 in Florida Wednesday morning, which caused both to spill their cargo. A semi-trailer of Busch beer swerved to avoid another vehicle, and instead crashed into a box truck from Frito-Lay, which overturned.  

"Neither driver was hurt, but you had Doritos and Busch beer all over I-95," Sergeant Kim Montes, a spokeswoman for the Florida Highway Patrol, told NBC News. "That's like a Super Bowl commercial right there."

The interstate was shut down for several hours while heavy equipment was brought in to clean up the snacks.

Cat Collects Men’s Underwear

Brigit the cat lives in Hamilton, New Zealand. Her hobby is collecting men’s underwear. Brigit’s owner, Sarah Nathan, would catch the cat burglar with a sock every now and then, but did not realize the extent of her thievery until the family got ready to pack up and move to a new home. She posted Brigit’s haul to Facebook, hoping to find the owner of the socks and underwear. She also posted a notice and slipped notes into her neighbor’s mailboxes. The pictures went viral , and one man has responded and said the underwear looked familiar. Meanwhile, Nathan and her husband are moving to the countryside, and hope that Brigit will find a new hobby.

11-Year-Old Takes Cement Mixer on Joyride

Sunday afternoon, police in Dodge Center, Minnesota, pulled over a cement truck for speeding. When they saw a juvenile at the wheel, he took off again. The unnamed 11-year-old boy had stolen the cement mixer from a construction site. A chase ensued, in which the truck barreled down city streets at 65 to 70 miles per hour, and hit two police cars before it came to an end.

"I betcha he drove around town 6 or 7 different times," said Dodge Center resident Troy Flatness, who witnessed the chase. "He was smiling, hooting and hollering...he was having a good time."

The chase went on for about an hour before the juvenile pulled over on a dead-end street. He jumped out of the cement truck and tried to run, but authorities were able to catch and arrest him.

A state police helicopter was dispatched to track the truck while it raced around town. Neighbors caught bits of video footage of the cement truck passing at an unusual speed. The boy was taken to juvenile detention.

Guy Steals Pizza Delivery Vehicle to Catch a Plane Out of Wyoming

A group of Vermont friends staying at Elk Country Inn in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, were drinking and got into an argument. Quinn McElwain was upset and left the room. He may have said something about going home. His friends called police about his disappearance. Not long afterward, police received another call, about a missing pizza delivery vehicle that disappeared from the Elk Country Inn. They put two and two together and checked with the Jackson Hole Airport. The missing Toyota RAV4 was there, and McElwain had bought a ticket with cash. They also called Chicago police, who went to meet McElwain as he changed flights, but they went to the wrong gate and missed him.

The Toyota RAV4 was returned to the Pizza Hut driver, and nothing was missing from the vehicle. That means that the charge, under Wyoming law, is not grand theft auto, but only unauthorized use of a vehicle, which is a misdemeanor. Nethercott said the question at this point is whether the prosecutor will want to go to the expense of extraditing McElwain for a misdemeanor charge.

Bananaman to the Rescue!

A completely naked man ran down Broad Street in Birmingham, UK, in front of the Saturday night crowd. The unnamed 47-year-old man ran up and down the street, occasionally pausing to pose for the onlookers and their phone cameras, until police arrived. But that wasn’t the weirdest part of the caper. It was when a superhero showed up. A guy dressed as Bananaman, in a blue body suit with yellow boots and cape, jumped into the street to stop traffic and protect the streaker. Female fans cheered Bananaman on from the sidewalks. The action was caught on video. The streaker was booked on a drunk and disorderly charge, and Bananaman went back to whatever it is Bananaman does.

5 Strange News Stories From This Week

Welcome to The Weird Week in Review, where we bring you odd news stories from all over.


On January 11, Nick Stafford of Cedar Bluff, Virginia, carted 1600 pounds of pennies into the Lebanon Department of Motor Vehicles to pay taxes on two of his vehicles. It was the end of a saga that began in September, when Stafford tried to find out which of his homes (which are located in two counties) he should use to register his son's new car. When he tried to call his local DMV, he was routed to a larger call center—and so, to get the local number he wanted, he submitted a successful Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Then he went one step further, filing three lawsuits to get the direct numbers for nine other local DMVs. “If they were going to inconvenience me then I was going to inconvenience them,” Stafford told The Herald Courier.

A judge ultimately dismissed the lawsuits when the state's Attorney General physically handed Stafford the phone numbers in the courtroom. But Stafford still had to pay sales tax on his vehicles, and he got in one last dig at the DMV while doing so: First, he bought five new wheelbarrows. Then, he bought a bunch of rolls of pennies. He hired 11 people to help him unroll the pennies—300,000 in total—and drove them to the DMV, where he put them in the wheelbarrows and, with the help of people he had hired, rolled them in. (“I’m not used to lifting,” Stafford said. “These are heavy.”) The lawsuits, wheelbarrow, and hired help cost Stafford more than $1000 above the amount of the vehicle tax.


When he was pulled over in early December 2016, Ross Lebeau thought it was a routine traffic stop—but Houston sheriff's deputies arrested him on drug charges. In his car, the officers had found a substance in a sock, which, when field tested, was positive for meth. A press release stated that Lebeau had been found with a half pound of meth in his vehicle; the release contained both Lebeau's mugshot and a picture of the substance seized.

Lebeau spent three days in jail, but he was released when lab tests revealed that the substance was not meth after all—it was kitty litter! As WMC Action News 5 reported on January 7:

Lebeau said the substance was cat litter inside a sock.

His father left one in his car and gave the other to his sister for her car. It's supposed to keep the windows from fogging up.

The problem was that two field tests done by deputies came back positive for meth.

The county's forensic lab tested the substance as well, and no drugs were found. The case was then dismissed, but the damage was already done to Lebeau's reputation. "People have been calling me a kingpin or drug lord," Lebeau said, adding that he's lost out on work because of the accusation. “I was wrongly accused, and I'm going to do everything in my power to clear my name."


Nancy Holten was born in the Netherlands, but she's lived in Switzerland since she was a child. The outspoken vegan and animal rights activist has campaigned against the cowbells that local livestock wear, saying the tradition is animal abuse, and has complained about loud church bells, hunting, and pig races. Holten, who is seeking Swiss citizenship, as been denied twice. Local residents can approve or deny villagers' requests, and they have deemed Holten too annoying. As Yahoo News UK reported on January 11:

"Tanja Suter, the president of the local Swiss People’s Party, claimed Ms Holten has a 'big mouth' and that residents did not want to grant her citizenship 'if she annoys us and doesn’t respect our traditions.'"

Holten's citizenship case has been transferred to the Cantonal (regional) government body, which can overturn the local decision.


Gjyste (Julie) Margilaj heard a crashing sound in her first-floor Manhattan apartment kitchen just after midnight on January 10. “I freaked ... out for a couple of minutes, and then I went over to the kitchen and I heard someone panting and breathing like they were in obvious pain. They were freaking out," she told the New York Daily News. “I opened the kitchen vent so he could breathe.” The man, a new resident of the seven-story building, had been on the roof hanging with some friends when, according to the FDNY, he removed the cover of an exhaust fan and slid down into the ductwork. "The shaft was so small that his body took up the entire vent," FDNY Chief Patrick Tansey told Pix 11 News. "So, using power tools was out of the question. We had to expose him by hand." The man—who was wearing just his underwear—only had minor injuries after the ordeal. "He had told the occupant who called us something about a pool in the basement," Tansey said, "but I don't know."


This week, Brian Berg filed a lawsuit over an incident that occurred last summer at Fox Run Golf Links in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. The golfer was enjoying a day on the green when he was run over by a portable toilet. An employee of the course was using a forklift to move the toilet but couldn't see where he was going because the toilet obscured his vision. According to CBS Chicago,

"After he was knocked to the ground by the porta-potty’s “initial blow,” it did not stop, hitting him in the face and knocking him unconscious, the suit says. It injured his shoulder, cut his chin, cracked a rib, bruised a bicep and caused 'a large, deep bruise to his leg.'"

Berg is asking $50,000 in damages from the Elk Grove Park District, which runs the golf course, and the forklift driver.

5 Strange News Stories From This Week

Welcome to The Weird Week in Review, where we bring you odd news stories from all over.


When authorities got a call about a calf that was loose on Tennessee's Highway 79N, David Bevill of Paris, Tennessee, volunteered to help local police capture it. Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew drove down the highway with Bevill on the hood, ready to rope in the calf. According to a Facebook post,

Belew said the calf became loose when a man was driving through town and his cattle trailer door broke. “There were actually two that got loose, but Dr. Lyons at Mineral Wells Animal Clinic and his crew were able to get the other one,” Belew said.

“So everybody is happy—we roped one calf, Dr. Lyons got the other one and the guy who was hauling them through town is happy, too,” Belew said.

It's always handy to know a cowboy when you've got a job to do.


Erin McCutcheon's cat Juno escaped a zippered cat carrier and jumped out of a moving car on the upper deck of I-93 in Boston on Christmas Day. McCutcheon couldn't find her cat, and so distributed posters and put out a call for help on Facebook. On Tuesday, a Local 103 crew of electricians doing maintenance work spotted Juno high above the lower deck, perched on the support girders under the upper deck. Juno had been stuck 80 feet above the highway for nine days! The crew couldn't catch the frightened feline, but eventually lured her out with cans of cat food. Juno, hungry and thirsty, went home with electrician Jay Frazier, and was later reunited with the McCutcheons.


Ma Van Nhat underwent surgery at Bac Kan Hospital in Vietnam in 1998 after suffering injuries in a traffic accident. Recently, he complained of pain in his abdomen, which doctors dismissed as a stomachache. But on December 27, during a routine checkup, a doctor determined there was a foreign object there. Last Saturday, surgeons removed a pair of surgical scissors, which had apparently been inside Nhat for 18 years. The scissors had broken and adhered to Nhat's abdominal organs. According to The Huffington Post,

The hospital’s director, Trinh Thi Luong, is now taking great pains to find out who may have left the scissors inside Nhat.

“Even if they are already retired, we will still inform them,” Luong said, according to Reuters. “This is a lesson to all doctors.”


An unnamed man in Mainhausen, Germany, woke up Monday morning and got ready for work as usual—but when he opened his front door, he couldn't leave: Someone had built a brick wall over the door opening. The perpetrators had built the wall quickly and quietly during the night. He had to tear out the bricks to leave his house. Police don't know whether the wall was a prank or an act of revenge.


The citizens of Roane County, West Virginia, elected a new sheriff in November. Bo Williams began his new job last Sunday, but on Tuesday, according to the New York Daily News, he was was arrested on charges of grand larceny for stealing meth from an evidence locker at his previous job with the Spencer, West Virginia, police department. Bags of meth with evidence numbers were found in his desk and in his car. Williams had resigned from that job after admitting to drug addiction in December. The Roane County commission removed Williams from office that same day, and asked a former sheriff to step in to run the department. Williams is out of jail on bond and may face up to 10 years in prison.


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