A Chicago-area couple began the New Year by racking up an impressive $1,400 in speeding tickets.
Piotr Pac, 21, of Prospect Heights, Ill., had just gone to sleep after some late-night New Year's Eve partying when his girlfriend called at 4 a.m., the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.
Emilia A. Goralczyk, 18, of neighboring Mount Prospect, Ill., was at a party where she'd just had a fight with a friend.
Being the chivalrous type, Pac offered to come pick her up — 180 miles away in Wisconsin Dells (search), Wis.
"I would do everything for her," he told the newspaper.
But Pac's mission of mercy had to be executed quickly. He had exactly six hours to get to Wisconsin Dells and back — 360 miles round-trip — before he was due for work at Nordstrom Rack at 10 a.m.
So he got onto Interstate 90 and put the pedal of his 2004 Nissan Altima (search) to the metal, and boy did the Wisconsin state police notice.
At 5:59 a.m., Pac was pulled over for doing 100 mph just north of the Illinois state line.
At 6:56 a.m., he was nailed doing 84 mph halfway between Madison and Wisconsin Dells.
At 7:28 a.m., the blue meanies busted Pac-Man for doing 77 mph in Sauk County, just outside Wisconsin Dells.
The Altima was pulled over a fourth time that morning, at 9:08 a.m., just north of Madison — but this time it was Goralczyk who was driving as Pac took a nap.
She proved to be even more of a speed demon than her boyfriend, clocking in at 108 mph.
"I don't even go that fast with the [emergency] lights on, unless it's a real bad emergency," said State Trooper Thomas Licari, who had just been joking with colleagues on the radio about being the next to pull over the Altima when Goralczyk went zipping by.
Total cost of the speeding tickets: $1,393, of which Pac is liable for $902, Goralczyk for $491.
Pac took it in stride. Informed Jan. 12 by the Journal-Sentinel that it was doing a story on his speeding spree, his first reaction was to whoop, "I'm famous!"
He did hope his parents wouldn't find out, especially since his father put the car under his own name after Pac's insurance premiums came to $6,000 per year.
"My father kicked my ass" after an even more recent ticket in Illinois, he said, "so I can't tell him about this stuff in Wisconsin."
Pac maintained that he's safe at any speed, having been driving in his native Poland since — he claims — the mature age of 9.
Nevertheless, he's had to hire lawyers several times to fight his many traffic tickets and license suspensions.
"You have to have an exciting life," he told the newspaper, "because [otherwise] life is boring."
— Thanks to Out There readers Leah I., Kathy K. and Christopher P.
VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — A man who failed to look before he swallowed and wound up choking on someone else's tobacco spit has been arrested in the theft of a tractor-trailer rig, police said.
Cuitlahvac Renteria-Martinez, 26, was arrested for investigation of first-degree theft shortly after he called 911 for emergency medical help, according to a police report.
Renteria-Martinez remained in the Clark County Jail with bail set at $20,000 pending a court appearance Jan. 21.
According to the report, the driver of a $60,000 Freightliner (search) containing about $15,000 worth of merchandise left the engine idling at a local shopping mall while he went into a Sears store to wash grease off his hands, then emerged to see the truck being driven away.
Police checked the truck's onboard global positioning system and converged on the vehicle an intersection in the Fisher's Landing part of town as Renteria-Martinez was calling 911 and telling a Spanish-language translator he was choking and needed help.
After being arrested, Renteria-Martinez told investigators he was driving when he saw a cup, took a drink without looking and only then learned it he had swallowed the regular driver's tobacco spit, police wrote.
— Thanks to Out There readers Jeff P., Deborah B.
VESTAL, N.Y. (AP) — Talk about gross.
Someone took a piece of sheep's brain from an anatomy class at a Binghamton-area school and placed it in the salad dressing in the school cafeteria.
Police are investigating Wednesday's food-tampering incident at Vestal High School (search), where officials say a student found the piece of brain at the bottom of a container of dressing at the salad bar.
Students used some of the dressing before the material was discovered, but officials say there's no evidence anyone ate any of the preserved brain matter, and no one has reported getting sick.
Parents were sent a letter informing them about the incident.
Local health department officials say there wasn't enough preservative in the brain matter to cause health problems.
— Thanks to Out There reader Michael C.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealanders are feeling sheepish over a new postage stamp that shows an ewe with powerful, curled horns — horns that in real life are found only on a ram.
Merino ewes (search), the type depicted on the stamp, have tiny stumps of horn if any at all, opposition National Party lawmaker Katherine Rich pointed out Tuesday.
"The stamp is an absolute impossibility," she grumped.
The subject is not being taken lightly in New Zealand, famous for its beautiful meadows full of gamboling lambs and the fact that its 40 million sheep vastly outnumber its human population of 4 million.
The stamp shows the female sheep with two lambs.
"Given the sheep is a major icon of this country, you'd think they would have at least passed the stamp design by someone with knowledge of agriculture," Rich said.
The stamp's designer, artist Samuel Sakaria, admitted taking artistic license.
"The males have the curly horns," he said. "I thought just to add a bit of a dynamic I'd just add in the male equivalent as opposed to the female."
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The city is hosting a convention this weekend of about 1,700 "furries" — people who love animals so much that they take on their identities and sometimes dress up like them.
Part costume party and part role play, Further Confusion, or FurCon (search), gives grown-ups a place to act out their inter-species fantasies.
The convention includes workshops on such things as puppetry, costume making, writing about mythical creatures and "furry anatomy."
Many of those attending participate in Internet chat rooms for "furries."
"But just because it's weird, it's still perfectly normal to the people involved in it," said raccoon wannabe Lee Strom, 36, of San Leandro, one of the event's founders.
Prancing through the lobby of the Doubletree Hotel as a fox among goats, tigers and other animals, Katie Matthew, 20, said she likes the fun of dressing up and escaping into her made-up animal character, which she calls Shadow and has written about in stories.
"It allows me to be someone I'm not,' she explained. "It allows me to step out of everything."
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Midwest Airlines (search) is turning to dogs and cats in hopes of wooing more consumers.
Midwest announced a new program Monday that gives pets a free round-trip ticket for every three domestic round-trip flights they take with their owners.
By contrast, Midwest's human passengers get free round trips at 25,000 miles — a mileage requirement that frequently requires more than three domestic round trips.
"While in the past their owners have been racking up miles on free trips, all the pets have been getting is a pat on the head," Midwest CEO Tim Hoeksema said Monday.
"We decided that it was high time to throw a bone to our frequent customers — and their best friends."
The promotion follows a similar promotion announced last week by United Airlines, which is offering pet owners 1,200 bonus miles on up to two round-trip tickets when they fly with their pets before May 27.
Midwest, which serves 50 U.S. cities through hubs in Milwaukee and Kansas City, Mo., says it racks up about 3,000 one-way pet trips a year. Pets fly round-trip with their owners on Midwest for $150 or one-way for $75.
The airline is promoting its new pet mileage plan at pet shows.
Analysts, though, say the pet programs probably won't make the airlines enough money to help cope with the industry-wide problem of soaring fuel prices.
"It's more a fun story than a financial story," said Craig Kennison, who covers Midwest for Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.
Midwest Air Group Inc., which operates Midwest Airlines and Skyway Airlines, and UAL Corp., parent of United Airlines, both reported losses in the third quarter of 2004 due to higher fuel costs.
Terry Trippler, president of travel information site TerryTrippler.com., called the promotions a crafty effort at public relations.
"I can't see people rushing over to them," he said. "(But) whatever gets people talking about your airline, that's what the airlines will do."
Compiled by FOXNews.com's Paul Wagenseil.
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