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2000 Personal Accounts
The Darwin Awards salutes the spirit portrayed in the following personal accounts, submitted by loyal (and sometimes reluctant) readers. Next


Compacted Ignorance  
2000 Personal Account

(May 2000, Indiana) We nurses at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Carlisle have to examine and treat any injuries that occur in the prison during our shift, no matter how outrageous or compromising the offender's situation.

One day, the lock-down alarm sounded. An offender was missing, and thought to be an escapee. An hour later, the lock-down ended and we received a call to report to the SHU (segregated housing unit) where the escapee was in need of treatment.

We found him lying on a table, crying, curled in a fetal position.

The offender had crafted what seemed to him to be a perfect escape. He worked in the garbage detail, and recruited two other trash collectors to help him escape in the garbage truck. A garbage truck! Who would think to look there?

He asked his two collaborators to bag him up with the trash, load him into the trash compactor, and throw him in the truck with the rest of the trash.

Now, imagine that you are in a maximum security prison with murderers and rapists. And imagine that you are going to allow, even encourage, two prisoners to seal you in a plastic bag, and put that plastic bag into a very powerful trash compactor. What kind of illogic is that?

The schemer didn't die, but he was a bit squished. His back was never quite the same afterwards. If his conspirators hadn't put trash in the bag with him, he could have actually won an award instead of just an At-Risk Survivor. © 1994 - 2020

Submitted by: Shirl

Reference: Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, 1996/1997

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Ken Dunckel adds:
"This escape attempt has precedent in, and might actually have been inspired by, a novel published a decade ago. Sman escapes from San Quentin (?) by stowing away in the back garbage truck with a hydraulic compactor, but the novelist had the escapee bring a short steel rod with him, to ensure that the compacting action would stop before he was crushed. Sounds viable in theory, but I wouldn't want to test it. I forget, but it might have been written by Edward Bunker, a graduate of San Quentin.

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