This year's winners have been announced at the Darwin Awards web site (full article here). Following are the five runners-up; the winner will be posted separately.
The Darwin Awards are "named in honor of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, [and] commemorate those who improve our gene pool by accidentally removing themselves from it. "
Runner-Up #5: The Laptop Still Works
Oscar, 29, was driving on Highway 99 near Yuba City, California when his Honda Accord crossed into oncoming traffic and collided with a Hummer. The occupants of the Hummer were not seriously injured.
California Highway Patrol officers found Oscar's laptop still running, and plugged into the car's cigarette lighter. Investigators believe that he was using it when his car crossed the center line. "Driving is not a time to be practicing your multitasking skills," remarked CHP spokesman Tom Marshall.
Oscar was a computer tutor. Hopefully his fatal lesson will teach others to surf on the information superhighway, not the asphalt superhighway. (2/26/2007)
Runner-Up #4: Superior Momentum
Two Valparaiso, Indiana men tested their reflexes by playing "chicken" with a train. Which man could stay on the rail longest in the path of an oncoming train?
At the stroke of midnight, the contest was decided. The winner, aptly named Patrick Stiff, lost his life. The train continued on, as the conductor was unaware it hit anyone. (6/23/07)
Runner-Up #3: A Barn Raising, Backwards
Raising a new barn is an endeavor that brings a community together. Demolishing a barn is another question.
A trio of friends in Augusta, West Virginia, set out to dismantle a dilapidated structure one bracing winter afternoon. Speaking of bracing, one industrious friend fired up his chainsaw and ripped through a crucial support post. Carrying the weight of a full barn roof, those wooden beams succumbed to the pull of gravity.
As a consolation prize, the deceased was indeed successful at demolishing the barn. (Darwin editor notes: This story is unconfirmed, but no disputes have come to my attention, as usually happens with bogus stories.) (1/14/07)
Runner-Up #2: Whack-A-Mole-Hunter
A 63-year-old German man's extraordinary effort to eradicate a mole from his Baltic Sea property resulted in a victory for the mole.
The man pounded several metal rods into the ground and connected them to a high-voltage power line, with the intent of rendering the subterranean realm uninhabitable. The maneuver electrified the very ground he stood upon.
The man was found dead after police tripped the main circuit breaker before venturing onto the property. The precise date of the sexagenarian's demise could not be ascertained, but the electricity bill may provide a clue. (1/10/07)
Runner-Up #1: What Goes Up Must Come Down
A Columbia, South Carolina cabbie found a young couple naked and injured in the road an hour before sunrise. The two people died at the nearest hospital without regaining consciousness.
Authorities were at a loss to explain what had happened. There were no witnesses, no trace of clothing, and no wrecked cars or motorcycles.
Investigators eventually found a clue high on the roof of a nearby building: two sets of neatly folded clothes. Safe sex takes on a whole new meaning when you are perched on the edge of a pyramid-shaped metal roof.
"It appears as if [they] accidentally fell off the roof," Sgt. Florence McCants said. (6/20/07)
List Of The Day: 2007 Darwin Award Runners-Up