Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Tsunami," Jan. 15, 2005

The criminal mind

Alleged convenience store robber Dan L. Griggs of Gary, Ind., did about everything he could do to hinder his own getaway. Not only did he target a convenience store across the street from the Lake Station, Ind., police department on Dec. 23, but he also locked his keys inside the getaway car. Police were pursuing him by the time he broke into the car to drive away, and they arrested him after a brief chase.

First of the year, twice

With the birth of their daughter Kelsey at 12:16 a.m. on Jan. 2, Mike and Terri Gavel won the first baby contest at Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro, Mass.-for the second year in a row. Kelsey's older sister, Rory Ann, won last year's contest, arriving at 9:37 p.m. on Jan. 1, 2003. The Gavels say they didn't plan the pregnancies, and both babies were born ahead of their due dates. "It's something that we'll be able to tell our kids when they're older and they understand," Mrs. Gavel said. "It's going to be neat for them."

High tolerance

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A 67-year-old Bulgarian man was dead drunk on Dec. 20 but remarkably still alive. The man, whom authorities did not identify, had been hit by a car but was fully conscious and, according to police tests, had a blood alcohol level of .914. Officers assumed the result was inaccurate, since .55 is considered life threatening, but five subsequent tests by doctors confirmed the .914 reading. The man was reportedly in stable condition after suffering head injuries.

Gator bait

What do you get when you mix pagan religions and Florida swamps? In downtown Miami, they produced a 12-foot-long, 400-pound alligator, which trappers hoisted by fire truck from Wagner Creek last week. Trapper Todd Hardwick said the massive gator probably lived for years in the canal system that drains the Miami Civic Center, feeding on animals thrown into the creek as religious sacrifices: "They farm-raised this big boy on Santeria and voodoo."

Walking wounded

Not even a bullet in the head could stop Larry Taylor of Fort Valley, Ga., from trying to be with his family. Shot during a Dec. 20 robbery, Mr. Taylor walked for two miles looking for his mother's house before finally calling police for help. "If I was going to die, I wanted to make it home to Mama's and die there," said Mr. Taylor. The bullet entered his head over his left eye and exited over his left ear, but he didn't die, and he spent the next several days recuperating with his family: "I'm still getting visitors and phone calls and everything and thanking God."

Rumaisa's record

Rumaisa Rahman had a growth spurt in the three months after her Sept. 19 birth in Chicago-and she still only weighed 2 pounds, 10 ounces. That's because tiny Rumaisa weighed 8.6 ounces when she was born, making her the smallest surviving premature baby on record. (Doctors waited until the Rahman family could leave the hospital last month to announce the record.) Her fraternal twin sister Hiba was a comparable heavyweight at birth, weighing 1 pound, 4 ounces. Doctors expect both babies to develop normally.

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