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The Odd Truth, May 11, 2005

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

Woman Gives Fugitive A Ride

STUART, Fla. - A Florida woman unwittingly drove a fugitive who escaped from a state prison work crew around town for three hours before safely making her way back home, officials said.

Worried relatives and detectives were waiting for Charlotte Yoder when she returned Tuesday. She had been with William Hawley, who had walked away from his road crew from a Martin Correctional Institution work camp and ditched his prison scrubs.

"She got a little weak in the knees when she realized what could have happened," sheriff's Sgt. John Silvas said. Yoder told Silvas that she never felt threatened by Hawley.

"He was very nice," Silvas said. "They talked about religion, family."

Hawley, 41, told Yoder that his wife or girlfriend was ready to deliver their baby, his car had broken down and he needed a cab. Yoder offered to drive him, taking Hawley to five medical centers in two counties.

She also gave him $20 for a meal at a fast-food restaurant in Port St. Lucie. He was last seen getting into a sport utility vehicle with two women. The career criminal was still missing early Wednesday.

Hawley was serving a 10-year term for a police chase and burglary, theft and cocaine charges.

National Weather Service's ESP

YAKIMA, Wash. - Talk about timing -- terrible timing.

Thunderstorms caused flash flooding and water-related problems on the National Weather Service's Flood and Flash Flood Safety Awareness Day.

The storms hit Monday, which also was the start of the agency's first Severe Weather Awareness Week in Washington state. Water filled the streets and poured into several businesses.

Even a funnel cloud made a brief appearance near Union Gap, just south of town.

Forecaster Julie Holcombe said it was just "lucky" that the storms hit on the state's first official flood awareness day.

But, she joked, if the woods or rangeland go up in smoke Thursday -- designated Wildland Fire Awareness Day –- "that would be pretty suspicious."

"Road Kill Pinata" A Delicious Treat

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - Dozens of people turned out at Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo to celebrate the birthday of one of the oldest Andean condors in captivity.

But instead of birthday cake, Thaao was given a "road kill pinata" filled with his favorite treats including whole rodents and horse meat.

The 75-year-old condor's big day was celebrated Sunday with singing and a scavenger hunt as more than 70 people turned out for the event.

Reaching more than seven decades for a bird is remarkable, zookeepers said, and the 25-pound Thaao shows no sign of slowing down.

"He couldn't wait to pull the rat out of it," Mike Elliott, a zoo employee who helps take care of Thaao said. "And the horse meat was a real treat."

Dead Tree Delays Luxury Condos

NAPLES, Fla. - Eagles nesting in a dead pine tree have indefinitely delayed construction of an $8 million condominium complex approved four years ago.

In spite of the lag time, Collier County commissioners stuck to their guns and refused on a 4-1 vote Tuesday to allow construction to start on the 590-unit Cocohatchee Bay project until the pine tree falls.

Signature Properties estimates it could lose $8 million to $12 million every year construction is delayed. The developers offered to build a $250,000 fake tree as a substitute or preserve 100 acres of offsite wilderness.

When the North Naples project was approved in December 2000, the company said it would wait for Mother Nature to topple the tree. But as time passed and the pair of eagles stayed on, Signature wanted to move ahead on five 15- to 20- story towers with or without the tree.

The Collier County Audubon Society and the Florida Wildlife Federation backed the developer's request based on the alternatives offered for wildlife protection.

But commissioners thought holding developers to promises was more important.

West Virginia Won't Let Jesus Drive

CHARLESTON, West Virginia - What would Jesus do … if he couldn't get a driver's license in West Virginia? Well, Mr. Jesus Christ has hired a lawyer. Peter Robert Phillips Junior has been using the name Jesus Christ for about 15 years. But he never got court approval for a legal name change. He already has a U.S. passport, Social Security card and Washington, D.C., driver's license bearing the name Jesus Christ. Christ moved to West Virginia, where officials have refused to issue a license or vehicle title with his adopted name. A judge in Washington refused his request for a legal name change, saying some people might be offended. Now, Christ has won a victory in an appeals court, which has ordered a lower court to hold more hearings on the name change request.

Brazilian Town Marks Orgasm Day

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - It was Orgasm Day in one small town in northeast Brazil. Espertantina Mayor Felipe Santolia says his town has unofficially celebrated orgasm day for years. But this year is the first when it was recognized as an official municipal holiday. Santolia says the idea is to improve marriages. Santolia notes that when a woman is unsatisfied, it affects all aspects of her life, including her relationship with the city. Santolia adds yesterday's official holiday was to celebrate "orgasm in all its senses."

British Naval Officers' Nude Plunge

LONDON - Some British naval officers are in trouble for being out of uniform. The Ministry of Defense says the group apparently went swimming in the buff while the destroyer HMS Liverpool was helping rebuild the island of Grenada after Hurricane Ivan. After a meal ashore, the six men and a woman went for a swim. Defense officials say the female officer, a doctor, wore a bikini and swam apart from her fellow officers. The captain of the Liverpool has confined the officers to their ship until June 1. They also can't drink while aboard. A Defense Ministry spokesman says swimming naked isn't appropriate behavior for a British officer.

Panty Perp Caught

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Police charge James Brian Eberle had more than his own shorts stuffed in his pants. He was arrested for stealing women's underthings at Pennsylvania's Westminster College. Police say they found Eberle near one of dorms. According to officers, Eberle had four pairs of women's panties and three bras stuffed into his pants. College officials had recently reported a suspicious man on campus. Eberle has been charged with a number of counts including burglary and receiving stolen property. He's now free on bond.

Monkeys Bust Loose

COVINGTON, La. - Authorities in Louisiana are going bananas over some escaped monkeys. As of yesterday, eleven monkeys were still on the loose near the Tulane Primate Center, while more than 40 others have been captured. Officials say the primates are responsible for their own monkey business. The monkeys had apparently watched how their keepers opened and closed the cages and later made their getaway. Officials say the monkeys were being used solely for breeding purposes and not for experiments of any kind. A spokesman for the primate center says the escaped monkeys are not dangerous. The animals are believed to be hiding out in some nearby woods.

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