Drunken 'Pilot' Is Plane Stupid

Louis Paul Kadlecek celebrated his 21st birthday in style.

On the fourth day of a serious bout of drinking, the unemployed tree-cutter broke into more than a dozen hangars at a Texas airport, stole two planes and ended up flying one into a power line, police told the Houston Chronicle.

The incident began early Sunday when Kadlecek, who'd been partying since his birthday Wednesday, stumbled into the Brazoria County Airport (search), where he'd performed community service as part of a sentence for a previous arrest.

He started up one plane and took it for a spin around the tarmac before deciding it would be too tough to fly, Brazoria County Chief Deputy Sheriff Charles Wagner told the newspaper.

Kadlecek apparently then set his sights lower, picking out a single-engine Cessna (search). He loaded it up with a case of stolen beer, threw the operator's manual open onto the seat beside him, and set off.

Out on the runway, Kadlecek told the police, he figured he'd "go for it," revved up the engine, and took off.

About a mile into his journey, he flew right into a set of high-voltage power lines. The propeller tore through the lowest one, which was carrying over 100,000 volts, knocking out electricity for two nearby towns.

"He said he saw a bright flash of light," Wagner said, adding that Kadlecek punctuated the moment with a hearty "Oh, [expletive]!"

The Cessna plunged 100 feet and crashed into a muddy field adjoining a local prison. Kadlecek got out, crossed a highway and walked three miles home.

Unfortunately for him, several people saw the crash. One man called 911, figured the pilot was dead and went on to his golf game. Others gave police a sketch of the mystery man.

When a law officer came to give Kadlecek a ride to appear in a police lineup Tuesday morning, the newly-minted 21-year-old had his toothbrush ready.

"I've been around long enough to know that he was expecting to be in jail," county investigator Richard Foreman said. He said Kadlecek hung his head and said, "I did it."

When asked where he'd been heading in the Cessna, Kadlecek replied, "I don't know, Mexico, maybe."

Kadlecek, who has an arrest record for burglary and various driving offenses, was charged with felony theft. He faces two to 20 years in prison.

Salad-Bar Fracas Sends Senior Citizens to Hospital

There's nothing like a little lack of hygiene at the salad bar to get people of any age angry.

Police said Lee Thoss, a 62-year-old resident of Spring Haven Retirement Community (search) in Winter Haven, Fla., got into a fight with 86-year-old William Hocker after the older man accused him of handling the lettuce with his bare hands instead of tongs, reports The Associated Press.

"This is the first time in 25 years I've ever heard of something like this happening," Jill Andrew, a Spring Haven spokeswoman, told The News Chief of Polk County, Fla.

Hocker told Thoss no one wanted to eat food he had been playing with. Thoss yelled and cursed at him, Hocker told police, and Hocker called him a child molester. Then, witnesses said, Thoss then began punching Hocker in the face.

Another resident, Allen Croft, 79, jumped in and was bitten on the arm by Thoss. The younger man's mother, Arlene Thoss, who is in her 80s and also a resident, was cut in the arm as she tried to break up the melee.

Harry Griffin, 92, cut his head as he was knocked down when panicked elderly diners fled the brawl.

"All the old folks were either getting up to help or trying to get out of there," police spokesman J.J. Stanton told the AP.

Her son "only likes a certain kind of lettuce," Arlene Thoss explained to police. But she added "that it did appear that he was playing with the food."

Croft, Griffin and Arlene Thoss were all treated at a local hospital and released.

Lee Thoss will now leave the residence. Andrew explained that bad blood had been building up among him, Hocker and Griffin for some time.

"We see the humor in it," she told The Ledger of Lakeland, Fla. "People think that because these people live in a retirement home that they've quit living, but we have 300 vibrant personalities here."

— Thanks to Out There readers Jillian E., Mike W. and Erin E.

Wayward, Wounded Sea Lion Finally Heads Home

SAUSALITO, Calif. (AP) — The sea lion found last month more than 60 miles from the Pacific Ocean with a bullet in its head was released back into the ocean Wednesday after the bullet was removed.

As earlier reported in Out There, California Highway Patrol officers rescued the 321-pound male sea lion as it flopped along a road in central California near Los Banos on Feb. 9.

Surgery to remove the bullet was performed at the Marine Mammal Center (search) in Sausalito, according to center spokeswoman Cynthia Schramm. She said the wound in the back of the animal's skull was no more than three days old at the time of the rescue.

Authorities don't know how the animal was wounded or how it managed to get so far inland. It may have been disoriented because of the wound and could have swum up the San Joaquin River from the ocean, officials have said.

The sea lion was released at the Point Reyes National Seashore (search).

Harming a sea lion is a violation of federal law punishable by fines and jail time.

— Thanks to Out There reader Greg M.

Teacher Duct-Tapes Seventh-Grader to Desk

ORAN, Mo. (AP) — A southeast Missouri teacher resigned last month after duct-taping a misbehaving seventh-grader to his desk and covering his mouth with tape, the district's superintendent said Wednesday.

The parents of 14-year-old Tommy Brindley said the boy nearly suffocated before freeing himself about 15 minutes later.

It happened Feb. 19 at the elementary/middle school in Oran, a town of about 1,000 residents 120 miles south of St. Louis. The Oran School District has 370 students and two schools.

Tommy was in detention for being late to school three times, his father, Larry Brindley, said. He began acting up during detention.

"He has attention deficit disorder, and he was misbehaving," Larry Brindley said. "He wasn't being mean. He was just being ornery."

Superintendent Tom Anderson said the teacher, whose name was not released, directed two other students to help her tape Tommy to his desk.

Later that day, Tommy told Anderson of the incident. Anderson said he immediately confronted the teacher, though she was allowed to work for two more days before resigning the following week.

Both Anderson and Larry Brindley said the outcome could have been much worse. Because of a problem at birth, Tommy's trachea is smaller than normal. With his mouth taped, he began to turn blue, Larry Brindley said.

Eventually, two other boys intervened and helped the child free himself.

The family is still considering filing criminal charges and pursuing a lawsuit, Larry Brindley said.

— Thanks to Out There reader Erin E.

Twenty Million-Percent Profit

NEW YORK (AP) — A man who paid $5 for a 19th-century painting he bought at a garage sale has sold it to a museum for $1 million, an art publication reported.

The unidentified 29-year-old actor found Joseph Decker's (search) "Ripening Pears" wrapped in a blanket at a Los Angeles garage sale three years ago, the report in ARTnewsletter said.

The woman who sold him the painting said it had been sitting in her garage for more than 60 years, the publication said. Decker painted it around 1884 or 1885.

The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., bought the painting in February for $1 million, said Meredith E. Ward, who served as the man's broker.

The painting hung on the man's kitchen wall for two years before he decided to do an Internet search on Decker, according to ARTnewsletter.

Once he realized Decker's fame, the man e-mailed a digital photo of the picture to the Manhattan-based Richard York Gallery, which specializes in 19th- and 20th-century American art.

"I looked at the e-mail, and I said, 'It's too good to be true,'" said Ward, executive vice president of the gallery.

Late to School? That'll Be Five Bucks

LEHI, Utah (AP) — Mom always said being late to class would cost you. Now, school officials here have decided just how much. Students at Lehi High School could be fined $5 if they are found outside of class after the final bell rings.

The fine was implemented this week after school officials decided to cut down on the number of students roaming the halls.

Administrators are only locking the doors once a day to give students a break. They decide in closed meetings after which period the doors will be locked, and that information is then e-mailed to teachers.

Any students left in the hall after the second tardy bell that period are then gathered up by administrators. They are given the option of either owing the school $5 or enrolling in attendance school, a mandatory study hall that takes place at 6:30 a.m.

Any money collected will be used for student activities.

Principal Sheldon Worthington said he already saw a change after the first 16 students received fines Monday morning.

"Today, after lunch, in the hallway I was looking down, I saw three kids where I would normally see 50," he said. "This is not to slam-dunk kids, but rather help them in their progression towards graduating."

Under the new policy, if the student doesn't pay the fine or go to attendance school, he or she will be unable to register for classes in the next semester.

"I think it is good for the kids who never go to class, but I don't think it is good for some of us who are just late sometimes to have to pay for it," said student Trevor Neardin.

Compiled by Foxnews.com's Paul Wagenseil.

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