The Odd Truth, March 17, 2004

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The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's Brian Bernbaum. A new collection of stories is published each weekday. On weekends, you can read a week's worth of The Odd Truth.

Sweet Smell Of Success

MONTPELIER, Vt. - Daegan Goodman may have had the shortest distance to travel to the rotten sneaker contest, but you couldn't tell that by smelling his shoes.

The 10-year-old from Montpelier took the crown in the annual event, which had eight other finalists from across the country.

Smell is not the only quality on which the shoes are judged. Appearance, overall condition, heels and soles also count.

Regular use and abuse seemed the treatment of choice for competitors in Tuesday's contest, which is sponsored by Odor-Eaters. Daegan explained his simple recipe for winning the coveted golden sneaker.

"I just wear 'em, sweat in 'em, play sports - I just try," he said.

The annual contest began in 1975 as a way to help a local sporting goods store sell shoes. In 1988, Odor-Eaters, maker of anti-foot-odor insoles, sprays and powder, assumed sponsorship of the event.

As the winner, Daegan gets a $500 savings bond, $100 to buy a new pair of sneakers, the golden sneaker and Odor-Eater products.

Burglar Cuts Himself, Calls 911

LANGLEY, Wash. - A teenager bleeding after apparently smashing the glass door at a gas station called for emergency aid - and was arrested, authorities say.

The 18-year-old apparently cut himself in the break-in Friday night at a closed filling station on southern Whidbey Island, said Island County sheriff's spokeswoman Jan Smith.

Surveillance videotapes indicate he tried without success to open the cash register, stuffed his pockets with packs of cigarettes and left, Smith said. He then returned three minutes later, again failed to get the cash drawer open and put more smokes into his pockets, she said.

That's when he called 911, claiming he tried to break up a burglary by two men who beat him with a bat and fled in a sports car.

He was jailed for investigation of two counts of second-degree burglary.

Man Serves Five Days For Kicking Cat

NEWARK - A 20-year-old Newark man is scheduled to be released from the Licking County jail today after serving five days for repeatedly kicking a cat.

Joshua Summers pleaded guilty last week to a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals.

Neighbors complained that Summers kicked the cat, which he had taken in as a stray, several times last October.

One witness told authorities he heard what sounded like a baby crying and saw Summers repeatedly drop-kicking the cat. City Dog Warden Toby Wills said he found blood on the door, couch and floor of Summers' apartment when he went to investigate the complaint.

Wills said the cat has since been adopted.

Really Wrong Number

DURANT, Okla. - A Durant woman is arrested after she allegedly called the wrong number and set up a drug deal with her former probation officer.

Patricia Kay Michel was charged with unlawful delivery of a controlled drug Friday after a phone conversation ended with police showing up at her home.

Probation and Parole Officer Doug Canant says Michel called him Thursday looking for a man named David. Canant says he played along with Michel, who soon started asking about drugs.

Canant alleges Michel asked if he could give her some speed until she received her income-tax return next week and he told her he would bring some methamphetamine to her house.

When police arrived, Michel allegedly brought two Xanax pills out of the house and gave them to a drug agent.

Michel has been released from jail on bond.

Cow Captured After Police Chase

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - When a cow left a barn south of Idaho Falls, nobody expected a chase, a wounded animal control officer or an attack on a police truck.

"I don't know what got into it," said Shelley Turnbow, who with her husband owns the 1,000-pound Black Angus. "We've been raising cows for 20 years and never had something like this happen before."

Turnbow, her husband, several family members, an animal control officer, a state brand inspector and two police officers spent about four hours trying to apprehend the animal, which had escaped Monday.

Two cows escaped by nudging open a sliding barn door, Turnbow said. One returned on its own and was found in the barn the next morning.

Several people reported the other cow running around the south end of Idaho Falls.

Police Sgt. David Frei tried to herd the cow by driving beside it. The cow rammed into his Ford Explorer, denting a front panel, and then disappeared somewhere south, witnesses said.

Later an official lassoed the cow but couldn't hold on to the rope, Turnbow said. Her husband stopped the cow by parking his car on the loose end of the rope.

Officers tried to coax the cow into a trailer, but it wouldn't budge. So Kris Colson, an animal control officer, set up a pulley system to yank it in. While setting the ropes, the cow suddenly tugged the rope, and cut the tendon of her ring finger, she said.

The cow was returned to the barn around 10 p.m.

Each year, four or five cows escape in Bonneville County, sometimes trotting down the road and tying up traffic, Colson said.

Pedestrian Mistaken For Osama Nearly Run Over

MONTPELLIER, France - A French artist allegedly traumatized by last week's Spain bombings was convicted of trying to run over a pedestrian he mistook for Osama bin Laden and ordered to pay the man $615.

The 35-year-old defendant, identified as Pierre, was sentenced Tuesday by a court in this southern France city to a three-month suspended prison term. The man he tried to run over was unharmed.

Pierre's lawyer, David Mendel, said his client was the "victim of a hallucination" while driving Monday through Montpellier's historic center.

The intended target, a man in his 30s, was able to run from the oncoming car, which crashed along the side of a street.

"If it was (bin Laden), we would have won $5 million," Mendel said, referring to a reward.

The Madrid train bombings, which killed 201 people, increasingly appear to have been orchestrated by Islamic extremists with links to bin Laden's al Qaeda terror network.

No Respect

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Some people have no respect.

That's the conclusion city officials were left with after someone swiped 300 trash can sleeves emblazoned with the city's new catch phrase: "It's all about respect." The banners were part of a campaign by the city to encourage good behavior during Spring Break.

"I can understand how some students would have taken one or two or maybe 10," Mayor Yvonne Scarlett-Golden said. "But to have taken 300 of them from the one corridor?"

"It leads me to thinking it's an organized effort, although I can't think of who would have led that," she said.

Since last week, business and city leaders have been donning bright yellow "Respect" T-shirts, passing out buttons and slipping the $7 sleeves over trashcans in the heart of Daytona Beach's tourist district.

Police officers hoped a surveillance camera from a business might have captured the thieves on film.

"It's of interest to us," Daytona Beach Police spokesman Al Tolley said of the stolen sleeves. "We're going to do our best to look into this."

Local businesses raised $50,000 to spread the message on everything from pamphlets to the trashcan signs, said Donna Sue Sanders, spokeswoman for the city's Collegiate Events Task Force.

"I guess somebody thought it wasn't a good idea," Sanders said. "But they don't have to support the campaign. We just don't want them to sabotage it."