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The Odd Truth, May 24, 2005

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

Mad Mom Drives Into School

PHILADELPHIA - A woman apparently upset over the treatment of her children by other students rammed her minivan into the front of the Huey Elementary School in West Philadelphia this morning.

No children were injured, but a bus attendant standing inside the school was slightly injured when the van with the woman and three children crashed into the front door of the school, about 50 feet from the street.

There was no major damage to the vehicle or the school building and little more than a bumper mark on the door of the school.

School officials say the woman had been complaining that her children were being picked on by other students since being transferred to Huey Elementary in December.

Investigators say they found signs in the van protesting the children's treatment. Authorities say the woman had threatened to drive into the school on Monday, but police were notified and an incident was averted then.

Smoker Leaps From Moving Car

FOREMAN, Ark. - A leap of faith proved hazardous for a smoker in need of a cigarette fix after a night on the town.

Jeff Foran suffered trauma to his nose, eyes and chin after jumping from a car traveling 55-60 mph. Authorities said he was trying to retrieve a cigarette blown out of the passenger-side window.

Foran, 38, took the leap Saturday night, state police Trooper Jamie Gravier said.

The driver of the car, Jerry Glenn Nelson, said Foran had asked him earlier in the evening to be a designated driver after a night of drinking.

"Foran did the right thing and asked his buddy to drive him home," Gravier said. "It was obvious he was extremely intoxicated."

Gravier added: "If anything could make him stop smoking, this should be it. The man is lucky to be alive."

Horse Takes On Highway

CINCINNATI - Whoa, Nelly. Or should that be hail, Caesar?

A carriage horse called Caesar bolted from its usual downtown spot and raced about a mile onto a freeway, startling motorists and a police officer who saw the animal zip past him.

Cincinnati police Lt. Michael Neville called for help Sunday after he spotted the horse pulling an empty carriage.

Caesar, may have gotten scared when the carriage driver began to pull the top up on the buggy, said Jazz Cann, a driver for Elegant Carriages, which owns the rig and the horse.

Or, it may have been trying to get back to a warehouse where it is stabled, but ended up on Interstate 75, Cann said.

A cab driver corralled the horse by an exit ramp until help arrived.

"At least he wasn't going the wrong way down a one-way street," Neville said. "He did run a red light, but I'm not going to cite him."

Pro-Drug License Plate

SEATTLE - Most drivers may be puzzled by the vanity license plate C9H13N, but plenty of crooks and users likely nod their heads knowingly.

It's the chemical compound for methamphetamine, and despite a state law that prohibits references to alcohol or illegal substances on vanity plates, it may be perfectly legal.

Bradley A. Benfield, a spokesman for the state Licensing Department, said such a license has been granted to the owner of a black 2002 Audi registered in Seattle. The plate may be legal because the same compound represents amphetamine, a legal substance when used in medicine.

To revoke the plate, state officials would have to notify the owner by letter and refer the issue to a committee, consisting of representatives from the Licensing Department, Washington State Patrol, county auditors and vehicle licensing agents.

Out of 6.5 million vehicles registered in the state, about 83,000 have vanity plates. Last week, officials dismissed a complaint about one reading JOHN316, a reference to a New Testament verse, deeming it inoffensive.

Online Lessons From The Donald

NEW YORK - If you want to be Donald Trump's apprentice, but don't want to go face-to-face, he may have just the thing.

The celebrity businessman is expanding into online learning with Trump University.

The for-profit venture will not offer degrees, or even grades. It will offer a variety of online courses, CD-ROM's, consulting services and seminars.

The venture's Web site touts subject areas including marketing, real estate, wealth creation and leadership. On the site, a package of six audio CD's and a workbook goes for nearly $400.

Town Payed Psychic Tax

McALLEN, Texas - I see ... prison in your future. The former mayor and bookkeeper of La Grulla, Texas, are going do time, for using federal funds to pay a psychic. Former Mayor Diana Cortez and former bookkeeper Sandra Lopez were each sentenced yesterday to one year and a day in federal prison. They had pleaded guilty to theft in November. Prosecutors charged the women with diverting block grant money from the federal department of Housing and Urban Development. The money was supposed to be used to develop affordable housing and encourage home ownership. They were accused of using nearly $54,000 in federal funds for psychic consultations.

Jailer Escapes Porn Rap

JANESVILLE, Wis. - A Wisconsin jailer is off the hook for looking at Internet porn on the job -- he was just surfing online poker, instead. An arbitrator has ruled Rock County didn't have proper cause to fire Dana Fichtner. Fichtner says the porn came from unwanted pop-up ads linked to the poker site. The arbitrator agreed the county didn't have sufficient evidence that Fichtner intentionally accessed the X-rated Web pages. He could be back on the job next week, and is eligible for back pay and benefits, too.

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