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The Odd Truth: July 11, 2005

The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's Meredith Stoffel.

Handcuffed Man Drives Away

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. - Being handcuffed behind his back wasn't enough to stop a vandalism suspect from driving away in a Wayne County Sheriff's Department cruiser.

Deputies answered a call about a man throwing rocks at a house in Highland Park, Deputy Chief Robert Dickerson said. They interviewed the alleged victim, then placed traditional bracelet-style handcuffs on the suspect and put him in the back seat.

The man managed to drive away, and the car was found abandoned several blocks away nearly six hours later, sheriff's spokesman John Roach told the Detroit Free Press. The suspect remained at large.

"It's happened before other times," Dickerson said. "This gentleman has a rather small frame, about 5 feet, 7 inches, and if the cuffs are not on tight, they can slip off."

It was not clear where the deputies were at the time the cruiser was driven away.

Woman Walks All Of Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS - Three years ago, Francine Corcoran set out to walk every mile of the city's streets.

On Sunday, at the foot of the Lake Street-Marshall Avenue Bridge, she said she had reached her goal.

"It's no big thing, 1,071 miles, been there, done that," Corcoran, 55, said as she approached her personal finish line.

About 15 friends showered Corcoran with flowers and champagne. She teared up, then exhorted her friends to emulate her: "Minneapolis is a beautiful city; go on out there!"

Corcoran walked a few miles a day, logging her progress with a felt-tip highlighter on a city map tacked to her basement wall.

Corcoran has made walking part of her life since her childhood in Hokah in far southeastern Minnesota. She regularly walks 3 miles from her home in the Hiawatha neighborhood to her job at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul.

World's Longest Kiss

LONDON - A London couple pursued a quest for the world's longest non-stop kiss, even after terror attacks rocked the city around them.

The twosome (James Belshaw and Sophia Severin) ended the kiss Thursday evening -- some 31 hours and 30 minutes after they first locked lips at a London shopping center. They were trying to best the current record set by a New Jersey couple.

Under the rules, their lips had to remain in contact at all times and they could not sit down or be supported by anyone. They were fed through straws and had to use the bathroom together.

The couple kept on kissing after the bombings, including one aboard a bus less than a mile away. At least 49 people died in the attacks, and hundreds were injured.

Guinness World Records has not yet certified the couple's effort.

Man Lives In Straw House

MONROE, Maine -The three little pigs might feel right at home in Mick Womersley's house. It's made of straw. But Womersley is more worried about utility bills than a big, bad wolf that might be huffing and puffing. Womersley is an ecology professor at a Maine college. The straw house is topped with solar panels for electricity. Womersley says the foot and a-half inch thick walls keep him and his wife nice and warm in the Maine winters. He notes straw is cheap and ecologically sound. But unlike the straw house in the tale of the three little pigs, his home is very strong and covered with plaster and adobe. Womersley adds that his straw house is also mortgage free.

Great Leap Over Great Wall

CHINA - Skateboarder Danny Way has rolled his way into history. He's the first person to jump across the Great Wall of China without any motorized aid. According to sponsor Quiksilver, Way rolled down a massive ramp at nearly 50 miles per hour to perform the stunt. He blew the first landing. But he made the next three tries, even adding some 360 degree spins. He says the 61-foot jump had his heart pounding. Way adds that he's honored to have his skateboarding visions embraced by the people of China. Way already holds skateboarding's height and distance jump records.

No Text Books For Some Students

TUCSON, Ariz. - Students at an Arizona high school won't have to lug textbooks to class this fall. They're not getting any.

Vail Unified School District has decided to go wireless.

The 350 students will use laptops to access electronic and online articles.

The superintendent says the move will free teachers from having to plow through textbooks every year.