Go Ahead, Kids, Chase the Alligator

A Florida school-bus driver is off the road for a while after letting some kids play "Crocodile Hunter" for real.

Sherry Hattaway was taking students from Pasco Middle and High Schools in Lacoochee, Fla., home last Thursday afternoon when a four-foot alligator crossed the road and went into a field, reports the St. Petersburg Times.

"Can we catch it? Can we catch it?" asked some of the 11 kids on board, according to Jimmie Scroggins, father of two riders.

Hattaway first said no, then changed her mind and pulled over.

Four boys ran off the bus, hopped a fence, chased the alligator into a mud hole, got it to clamp its teeth around a stick and wrapped its head with their shirts. A fifth boy happened to have a roll of electrical tape handy, which took care of keeping the reptile's jaws shut.

"It was the first thing that came into my head," said 14-year-old Jacob Scroggins when asked why he wanted to catch the gator.

After a 15-minute struggle, the boys triumphantly got back on the bus with their squirming, angry prize.

Hattaway drove on to the Scroggins residence, where the gator chasers and their quarry disembarked.

Jimmy Scroggins soon came home from his welding job to find several boys, including his sons Jacob and Jared, clustered around the bed of his Ford F-250 (search) pickup.

"They were all, 'Look what I got!'" Scroggins recalled.

Scroggins didn't think it was so funny. He took the gator out to the nearby Withlacoochee River (search) and let it go.

"Kids are going to do what kids are going to do," he said. "But there was a consenting adult involved."

Hattaway, 41, has been placed on paid leave. She has a perfect driving record and has gotten high marks for dealing with kids during her five years at the wheel of the school bus.

"If the facts I'm hearing are true, then at the least she used some of the worst judgment someone could use in endangering kids," said Pasco schools superintendent John Long.

Lacoochee is about 40 miles northeast of Tampa.

Hattaway refused to take calls from reporters Monday and Tuesday.

The Scroggins brothers told the St. Petersburg Times they felt bad for Hattaway and were worried she might lose her job.

"I liked her a lot," said Wilfredo Santiago, another boy on the bus. "She was cool."

His mother, Aurora Moreno Santiago, had her own comment: "I guess she was too cool."

— Thanks to Out There reader Leon F.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

COVINGTON, Ga. (AP) — A woman was caught trying to use a fake $1 million bill to buy $1,675 worth of merchandise at a Wal-Mart (search), and was later found with two more of the bills in her purse, police said.

The United States Treasury does not make $1 million bills, but people can buy souvenirs of such a bill at some stores, police said.

"It looks real, but of course there's nothing real about this," Covington Police Chief Stacey Cotton said Tuesday. "People do crazy things all the time. I think it's just another example of some odd things that occur."

A clerk at the store immediately noticed the bill was fake when 35-year-old Alice Regina Pike handed it to her on Friday, Cotton said.

Pike then tried to use two gift cards with only $2.32 of value on them to buy the merchandise, but when that didn't work she again asked if the clerk could cash the $1 million bill, Cotton said. The store then called police.

Pike, of Porterdale, was charged with forgery. There was no listing for her phone number in directory assistance, and she could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Covington is 32 miles southeast of Atlanta.

Ten-Year-Old Girl Becomes Designated Driver

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) — A man who allegedly had a few too many drinks decided he shouldn't drive drunk so he handed his car keys to his female companions — all too young to drive, police said.

Lionel Cerda told officers that he had been nodding off, so he first let a 14-year-old drive. But when police pulled the car over after midnight on Saturday, they found Cerda in the front seat, with empty bottles at his feet, the 14-year-old in the back with an open can of beer, and a 10-year-old at the wheel.

"This," said Lt. Dave Haskins, "is a strange one."

Officer Christina Abshire saw a car swerving and breaking erratically, going 5 mph. She followed the car, then pulled it over. As she walked over to the driver's window, the car sped off. She then pulled it over again, and found the three inside.

Abshire said Cerda explained to her in thick, slurred speech that the girls were his relatives, and he was teaching them how to drive. Cerda was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and child endangerment.

Small-Change Bandit Ends Up With Big-Time Bail

NORWICH, Conn. (AP) — City police say they have nabbed a spare change bandit who made hundreds of dollars by stealing coins from cars.

David R. Small, 31, of Norwich, would move from car to car, checking for unlocked doors over the past month and would make off with anything of value including coins left in a center console, police said.

The loose change added up.

Police said on a good night, Small said he would make upward of $200, and $1,000 in a good week.

Occasionally, police said, he stole a car for the night if keys were available.

Small was arrested Monday and charged with larceny by possession, third-degree burglary and sixth-degree larceny.

Police said they expect to add to those charges as they uncover more victims.

"He's admitted to several dozen others ... some reported and some not," Detective Lt. Timothy Menard said.

Small was being held on a $250,000 bond pending his arraignment in Norwich Superior Court Tuesday.

She Must Have Been Delivered by Dr. Pepper

LONDON (AP) — Diet Coke isn't what it used to be.

Researchers at Britain's National Archives found records of a girl named Diot Coke born back in 1379 in Yorkshire.

Her first name is believed to be a variation of a name that was on its way to becoming the modern-day "Denise." And Coke is thought to be an early form of Cook.

Researchers have also found that names now common for boys, like Philip and Thomas, were once used for girls in the 14th century.

Nebraska Town Bans Shaving

LEXINGTON, Neb. (AP) — Beware showing any whiskers in Lexington these days.

Lexington Mayor John Fagot has implemented a "ban" on shaving for every man in town older than 21. Those caught clean-shaven without a shaving permit could face being dunked in a horse tank or other benign punishment.

The mayor implemented the lighthearted ban to get the town in the spirit of this summer's Plum Creek Days, a festival bearing the town's former name. One of the festival's traditional highlights is a beard-growing contest.

The not-so-consequential edict is in effect until July 5, the last day of the three-day festival.

The ban is part of a Lexington-area tradition that began in 1939 with the first Plum Creek Days (search) festival. Those wanting to shave can avoid being arrested and taken to Kangaroo Court by purchasing a special shaving permit.

Along with the shaving ban, the mayor has proclaimed all men and women must dress in Western or historic clothing on Fridays beginning in May.

Kangaroo Court will be held every Friday beginning June 4 and will included "trumped-up charges and fun sentencing," Fagot said.

Compiled by Foxnews.com's Paul Wagenseil.

Got a good "Out There" story in your hometown? We'd like to know about it. Send an e-mail, with a Web link (we need to authenticate these things), to outthere@foxnews.com.