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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Odd Ways to Go! Strange, bizzare news on death

A lawyer demonstrating the safety of windows in a skyscraper crashed through a pane and plunged to his death.

Police said a lawyer demonstrating the safety of windows in a downtown Toronto skyscraper crashed through a pane with his shoulder and plunged 24 floors to his death. A police spokesman said Garry Hoy fell into the courtyard of the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower early Friday evening as he was explaining the strength of the building's windows to visiting law students. Hoy previously had conducted demonstrations of window strength according to police reports. Peter Lauwers, managing partner of the firm Holden Day Wilson, told the Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy was "one of the best and brightest" members of the 200-man association.

Origins: On 9 July 1993, Garry Hoy, Falling man a 38-year-old lawyer with the Toronto law firm of Holden Day Wilson, did indeed plunge to his death from the 24th floor Toronto Dominion Bank Tower in front of several horrified witnesses.

The firm's spokesperson said Hoy "... was testing the strength of the window. There was a lot of joking about how the window wouldn't open maybe on a hot day ... Apparently, it was the second attempt [at testing the window] that one of them popped out and he went through."

As well, a Toronto police officer reported that Hoy "... was showing his knowledge of the tensile strength of window glass and presumably the glass gave way. I know the frame and the blinds are still there."

Our advice is to apply the same rule to architecture as you do to computers: Don't ever bet your life on windows not crashing.

A golfer angered by a bad shot is killed by the club he threw in frustration.

In 1994, 16-year-old Jeremy Brenno of Gloversville, New York, was killed when he struck a bench with a golf club, and the shaft broke, bounced back at him, and pierced his heart. Brenno had missed a shot on the sixth hole at the Kingsboro Golf Club and looked to vent his frustration by giving the nearby bench a good whack in retaliation. The fatal club was a No. 3 wood.

Brenno's is not the only accidental death by golf club. In 2005, 15-year-old Rafael Naranjo of Gardner, Massachusetts, expired after playfully swinging a 5-iron he'd found in the street at a fire hydrant . His act caused part of the shaft, along with the head of the club, to break off and lodge in his neck.

In 1951, Edward Harrison was playing a round at Inglewood in Kenmore, Washington, when the shaft of his driver broke and pierced his groin. He staggered 100 yards before collapsing and bleeding to death.

In 2005, 12-year-old Chandler Hugh Jackson of Frisco, Texas, died in Cunningham, Kentucky, after apparently falling onto a broken golf club at Dogwood Hill club. A piece of the club's shaft went through the boy's chest and pierced his aorta.

A pedestrian was killed by a flying fire hydrant.

Loss of life through head-on collision or rollover have become mundane events in our automotively-enhanced world; we expect to read in every morning's paper about traffic deaths on local roads and highways.

While all traffic fatalities are tragedies to be grieved over, some happen in far more unusual fashion than others. Every now and then a vehicle-caused demise is so wildly at odds with what we expect of our world that it shakes the cobwebs from our heads as it serves to remind us that life can be lost in the blink of an eye and through no fault of anyone's.

On 21 June 2007, 24-year-old Humberto Hernandez was killed by a 200-pound fire hydrant that came flying through the air to strike him in the head as he walked with his wife along an Oakland, California, sidewalk.

The fire hydrant had been launched onto its deadly trajectory by a sport utility vehicle that crashed into it. The 2007 Ford Escape had blown a tire and swerved onto the sidewalk, striking the hydrant. Water pressure and the impact of the crash sent the fire plug flying like a "bullet," said Phil Abrams, an Alameda County deputy sheriff.

This was far from the first death caused by an object inadvertently launched by a vehicle, but it is somewhat unusual in that the victim wasn't in a car himself. Over
the years, numerous drivers and passengers have met the Grim Reaper via tires flying off passing vehicles, but other items have also ended lives.

On 28 December 2006, a ball-style trailer hitch killed 32-year-old Sean O'Shea of Encinitas, California, when it bounced up from the roadway and through his windshield, striking him in the head before coming to rest in his vehicle's back cargo area. The 5- or 6-pound hitch either fell off a truck or came off the back of a vehicle.

Another death occurred in similar fashion on 30 March 1995, in Santa Clara, California. On that day, while riding as the passenger in a friend's car, 37-year-old Joanne Bergeson was struck by a car jack that flew into the vehicle; she died in the hospital a few hours later of head wounds so sustained. The jack had either been dropped by a truck traveling in front of Bergeson's vehicle or had been lying in the roadway and was kicked up by it.

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