Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

"Quick Takes" Continued...

Issue: "The plots thicken," Jan. 12, 2008

Rescue at sea

For 14-year-old Illinois native Laura Montero, having her appendix burst while on a Pacific cruise could have been a tragic case of wrong place, wrong time. Except that the U.S. Navy was in the neighborhood. The USS Ronald Reagan, a Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier, ditched training exercises and altered course, steaming toward a cruise ship about 500 miles away sending out SOS calls off the coast of Baja California. Aboard the Dawn Princess, Laura waited as the Reagan sailed all night to get close enough to send a helicopter to retrieve the sick girl. Aboard the Reagan, Navy doctors performed emergency surgery to save Laura's life while the 6,000-crew vessel made way for port near San Diego. Doctors stateside, who called the Navy surgeons' work first-rate, said Laura should make a complete recovery.

Postal prank

New York-based humorist and actor Brian Sack found an ingenious way to subsidize his holiday vacation to Poland: giving eBay users the chance to prank a friend. Users of the online auction site bid on the right to have Sack send three international postcards from Poland to one of the bidder's friends back home. "Your beloved friend or relative will try in vain to figure out who it is. Best of all, it can't possibly be you because you'll have the perfect alibi: you're not in Poland," Sack wrote in the listing. "The postcards will not be coherently signed, leaving your mark confused, guessing wildly, crying out in anguish." The winning bidder paid $415 for the pranking service.

Walk this way

In the case of a donut store robbery in Cambridge, Mass., snow is a cop's best friend. When officers arrived at the Porter Square Dunkin' Donuts early on Dec. 20, the manager of the store said a bandit had just held him up with a silver revolver and left after taking $70 from the till. To find the suspect, police simply walked outside and began following footprints in the snow until they disappeared into bicycle tracks. After following the trail into nearby Somerville, police picked up a 51-year-old man who was later positively identified by the manager.

Life in the slow lane

A British woman in trouble for hazardous driving thinks she needs a training course. Police think she just needs to trade her feather foot for a leaden one. Stephanie Cole, a 57-year-old Bristol woman, pleaded guilty to reckless driving after police stopped her in a Malaysian-made compact sedan on a busy four-lane highway on her way to Staples. According to police, Cole was moving down the freeway at 10 mph while straddling the inside shoulder. Cars swerved to miss Cole, who had placed a sign in the back of her hatchback that read, "I do not drive fast, please overtake." In adjourning the case until this month, the judge said, "I hope she doesn't drive here."

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