Smoking Can Kill You

A San Francisco man almost died Thursday when the lit cigarette he flicked out his car window blew back in, setting his vehicle ablaze.

Jonathan Fish, 20, was about to get off the Bay Bridge (search) Thursday morning, police told the San Francisco Chronicle, when he chucked the ciggie from the window of his 2004 Ford Expedition (search).

The wind caught the butt and blew it back through the SUV's window, where it lit the back seat on fire.

Black smoke filled the car, and Fish, sensing he was about to be cooked, jumped out about 100 feet from the Harrison Street off-ramp.

He'd left the Expedition in neutral, and the flaming truck kept rolling, finally crashing into a guardrail just before the exit, where the $30,000 vehicle burnt down to the frame.

The California Highway Patrol (search) put out the fire, which backed up traffic all the way to Oakland.

"We see people throwing cigarettes out the window all the time, but never a situation like this where it comes back in," said CHP Officer Shawn Chase. "This guy was lucky."

Fish's hair was singed, but he wasn't hurt. He might be a bit steamed, though — the CHP plans to fine him up to $1,000 for littering.

— Thanks to Out There reader Joe K. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ex-Inmate Longs for Prison, Part I

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — An inmate mistakenly released from a Canton jail didn't take advantage of his chance to escape.

Instead, Ricky Lee Claycomb arranged his own transportation back to the Colorado prison where he has to serve two more years for a robbery.

The Stark County Jail (search) let the 37-year-old Claycomb go last Tuesday after he was acquitted of a rape charge. The sheriff says deputies never saw the paperwork to ensure his return to Colorado.

So Claycomb had his mother, Jill Claycomb, send him money for bus fare back to Colorado. After a brief visit with her, Claycomb had his brother drive him to the Fremont Correctional Facility (search).

"He was nice enough to call ahead," said Katherine Sanguinetti, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Corrections. "I think he was afraid we would shoot him or something, but it wasn't his fault Ohio let him go."

Authorities had brought Claycomb to Ohio from Colorado last October to stand trial in the 1994 rape of a Canton woman, based on DNA evidence.

However, Claycomb testified that he had consensual sex with the woman the day before the alleged assault, and jurors acquitted him.

"I told a detective what happened, that he was coming back to Colorado on his own," Jill Claycomb said. "He just said, 'Bless Ricky's little heart.'"

— Thanks to Out There reader Jonathan P.

Ex-Inmate Longs for Prison, Part II

RIGA, Latvia (AP) — Finding life on the run as restrictive as life behind bars, a Latvian man who escaped from a minimum-security prison five years ago showed up at the prison doorstep asking to be let back in.

Sergei M. — prison officials would not give his full name — turned himself in Monday at the Vecumnieki penitentiary, 31 miles southeast of the capital, Riga, where he had escaped from in 1999 with 10 months left on his seven-year burglary sentence.

Karlis Serzants, a spokesman for the Latvian prison administration, said Tuesday that Sergei had been living in Riga with his girlfriend and had worked illegally at various jobs but was finding it hard to find work and evade the authorities.

Sergei will serve the remaining 10 months of his burglary sentence and could face as long as three more years for his escape, Serzants said.

Man Gets Naked, Bites Officer, Crashes Cop Car

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Police chased a naked man through the city's slushy streets early Monday after he allegedly stripped off his bathrobe, bit an officer, then stole a police cruiser in an attempt to escape.

The man was captured after he smashed the cruiser into several parked cars, abandoned the vehicle and tried to get away in his bare feet.

The episode unfolded at around 1:30 a.m. when police were called to a block in North Philadelphia to investigate complaints about a person screaming in the street.

Officers arriving on the scene said they found a man running about in his bathrobe in the freshly fallen snow.

The officers gave chase. The man shed his robe, then allegedly bit a female officer on the arm, climbed into her patrol car and hit the gas. He drove only a few blocks before crashing, police said.

Police did not immediately release the suspect's name. He faces charges including car theft and assault.

A Flasher for All Seasons

BAY MINETTE, Ala. (AP) — Chilly weather hasn't kept a naked man from flashing traffic on Interstate 65 in north Baldwin County in Alabama.

Sheriff's spokesman John Murphy said last Thursday morning's incident was the ninth time since July 2004 that someone had flashed passing motorists on the interstate between the Stockton and Perdido exits.

"He runs up to the interstate, stands there for a few seconds, then runs away and vanishes," Murphy said.

State Trooper Sgt. Tommy Waters said motorists have described the flasher as a tall, thin, dark-haired man who is bald on top and has a ponytail.

The sightings have been in rural areas. There have been no wrecks or injuries as a result of the man's antics.

Waters said the man could be charged with indecent exposure, a misdemeanor, if arrested.

He said officers, who rushed to the scene several times, have never spotted the naked man.

Murphy said it is believed the man lives nearby and hides out after exposing himself or flees in a nearby vehicle.

Whoops, Sorry, Wrong Car

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — A prosecutor in the Florida Keys has been placed on administrative leave after he got drunk, took his clothes off and ran to a parked car.

Albert Tasker faces charges of disorderly intoxication and indecent exposure. He was arrested Monday.

Tasker told police he had been drinking with friends and thought it would be funny to get naked and run to a friend's car in the parking lot of a Key West motel.

But he apparently got in the back seat of someone else's car. Police later found him in the middle of the parking lot.

The Monroe County state attorney's office says this is embarrassing for both the prosecutor and the attorney's office. An internal review is being conducted.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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