Charles Darwin at a green chalkboard.

2002 Darwin Awards

Honoring Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool--by removing themselves from it in the most spectacular way possible.

2002 Darwin Award Winner
Unconfirmed by Darwin

(8 February 2002, Pennsylvania) Outside a camp for troubled youths, sneakers dangled from the electricity line, presumably tossed there by a camper who enjoyed the challenge and notoriety. But the sneakers were an eyesore to one 20-year-old employee. They must be eliminated!

He stood in the raised bucket of a front-end loader, and poked at the sneakers with a device consisting of a fourteen-foot coppper tube with a pocketknife taped to the end. The determined employee had nearly removed a pair of shoes, when the knife pierced the insulation and made contact with the electrical wire. He was knocked out of the bucket and landed on the hood of the loader, with burns on his hands, a foot, and his buttocks. He died from his injuries three weeks later.

Does his death seem the obvious result of a foolish choice? Not according to his mother, who said, "Nobody knows what really happened."

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Submitted by: Anonymous
Reference: The Derrick & News Herald

READER COMMENT: "This cannot be true! I am an electrical engineering technologist, and work directly with on high and low voltage electricity. The strong insulation on a high voltage distribution wire is impossible to pierce with a knife on a pipe, so the wire could not have been high voltage. Furthermore, even if the knife had pierced the insulation, the tires on the vehicle would insulate the employee from the ground, preventing electric shock. Bucket trucks lift line crews to work on live 25,000V power lines all the time." -V. Cameron

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