Bay Area commuters got a nice surprise Monday afternoon when an ostrich broke out of a van and began running around on the Golden Gate Bridge (search).
"It should never have happened," the van's driver, Ronald Love, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "The ostrich's butt broke the window. You never would think an ostrich could fit through a little window, but she did."
Love and his business partner Bibiana Goodrich had bought two ostriches in Watsonville, about 90 miles south of San Francisco, and were hauling them to their organic farm in Healdsburg, about 70 miles north of the city.
"We've never had an ostrich on the bridge before," said California Highway Patrol (search) spokesman Sgt. Wayne Ziese. "This is a first."
At about 4:45 p.m. PDT, the van sped up as it drove through the tollbooths onto the southern end of the bridge, and Love and Goodrich suddenly heard smashing glass. They looked behind them to see one ostrich, and one back window, gone.
"It kind of fell backwards through the window," Goodrich told Bay City News. "The next thing, we looked out, I said, 'The ostrich is on the Golden Gate Bridge.' I felt awful."
Ziese told Bay City News that an officer on the bridge investigating another matter suddenly looked up to see an ostrich "taller than he is."
The ornery ostrich ran into the southbound lanes and between cars slowing down to pay the toll, stopping traffic in both directions.
Bridge police officers, CHP officers, Love and a tow truck driver all began chasing the wayward bird, as the ever-present Golden Gate Bridge tourists happily snapped photographs.
"Apparently everybody was hooting and hollering," Ziese laughed to Bay City News.
After about 10 minutes, the bird was herded into the bridge's tow-truck garage. Goodrich pulled the van into the tow area, where helpful bridge workers patched up the broken window with rope and wood before placing the ostrich back inside.
"It was quite an adventure," Love told the Chronicle. "Strange things always seem to happen with ostriches. I guess this proves it."
Apart from what Ziese termed "minor road rash," the ostrich, which had been destined for slaughter before Love and Goodrich bought her, was unhurt.
Goodrich told Bay Area News she and Love had come up with the perfect name for her — "Goldie."
— Thanks to Out There reader Don W.
Click in the photo box above to see an ostrich on the loose.
PROVO, Utah (AP) — Paul Dalebout wasn't happy to come across a foot of raw sewage in the basement of his house, but it was going into a bathroom that left him horrified.
"It was just gushing up out of the toilet like a geyser," he shuddered.
Dalebout's houses was among 17 in Provo's Edgemont neighborhood left wallowing in a backup of sewage Friday that gurgled through drains and toilets.
Authorities blamed a dead dog stuffed down a sewer manhole and opened a criminal investigation. They found the dog's owner from an identifying chip implanted in it. The owner said the dog had been missing.
Provo offered to reimburse homeowners for the cost of hiring professional crews to clean up their houses — for a second time since asphalt chunks clogged their sewer line five years ago. Other Provo sewer lines have yielded bowling balls and carpet scraps.
This time, crews snaked a high-pressure hose with a spiked end into a manhole to clear the sewer main, dislodging the corpse of the large dog.
"I can't take this anymore. We're going to have to move," said Dalebout's wife, Donna. "It's all the neighbors' sewage coming up here in our basement, just like it did five years ago. I can't take it again. I'm too old for this."
Provo Public Works Director Merill Bingham said someone had to lift a manhole cover to drop the dog into the sewer line.
He said sewer backups weren't uncommon — the city deals with about five incidents a year — but that it was "extremely unusual" to strike the same houses twice in five years.
— Thanks to Out There reader Aaron M.
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Michael Lyons apparently had a funny practical joke planned for his daughter's birthday.
In the end, no one was laughing — especially Lyons.
Lyons, 45, was arrested after he told a 13-year-old girl to hand a note to a bank teller, police said.
The note said, "Give me all of your money, this is a stick up," according to a police report.
The incident happened Friday when Lyons and a group of girls were celebrating his daughter's birthday. While he was getting money out of an ATM, the girl went into the bank and handed the note to a teller.
The teller sounded the bank's alarm, and police and FBI surrounded the building. Instead of robbers, they found Lyons and the girls.
Lyons was charged with criminal attempt of robbery by intimidation, said Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police spokesman Bucky Burnsed.
"You can't yell 'fire' in a crowded theater, can't joke about a bomb in your luggage at the airport, and you can't write notes to cashier that say 'This is a stick up,'" Burnsed said.
AURORA, Colo. (AP) — A man who was hit with a Taser gun after police accused him of stealing a salad from Chuck E. Cheese's (search) restaurant has reached a deal with the city.
Danon Gale, 29, agreed to drop his $500,000 civil-rights lawsuit in exchange for prosecutors dropping five of six charges filed against him. He pleaded no contest to disturbing the peace.
The city will pay his legal and medical bills — but Gale still has to pay a fine.
"I was wrongfully arrested, beat up, Tasered, and now a $500 fine," he said.
Police used a Taser on Gale in front of his children in February after employees accused him of trying to eat at the salad bar without paying.
The investigation concluded that Gale did pay for the salad, and the city apologized for what happened, blaming the restaurant for the confusion.
Dick Huston, executive vice president of CEC Entertainment Inc., of Irving, Texas, the corporate owner of Chuck E. Cheese, said Gale used the wrong type of plate to fill up at the salad bar and refused to provide a receipt that showed he had paid.
Gale had been facing a year in jail and $1,000 in fines before the deal.
NAPPANEE, Ind. (AP) — The high cost of gasoline may have driven them to it, but picking the wrong fuel pump cut short their getaway.
Two men who tried to steal gasoline from a construction company instead filled the tank of their car with off-road-grade diesel fuel on Aug. 14, police said.
An employee of Beer & Slabaugh spotted the men on the company property near Nappanee, about 20 miles southeast of South Bend, as they were siphoning fuel out of a car's tank, Elkhart County deputies said.
The two told the employee that a friend had put the wrong fuel into the tank and they were trying to empty it, authorities said. The employee noticed that the fuel was the distinctive red color of off-road diesel (search).
He called deputies, who arrested McKinley Chase, 21, and Dajuan L. Lord, 19, both of Gary, on preliminary charges of felony. They acknowledged the theft by explaining their mistake and saying their car would not run.
VIENNA, Austria (AP) — A candidate in provincial elections in southern Austria is urging people to sign up for a lottery with an unusual prize — a parliament seat.
It's a form of protest, says Gerhard Hirschmann (search), who argues that the largely powerless upper house of parliament should be abolished.
Hirschmann launched the lottery to give away the five-year job — title and $66,340 annual salary included.
All he needs is 8.5 percent of the Oct. 2 local vote in Styria (search), which would give him the power to send one delegate from Styria to the Vienna-based upper house.
"You may choose to join in the debates (in parliament) or do as the other 61 members: cash in and remain silent," Hirschmann said on his Web page. At least 1,000 people have entered the lottery, Hirschmann's spokesman Thomas Mudri said.
Hirschmann, a member of the governing People's Party, is running in Styria's election as an independent.
He argues that the upper house — meant to look out for the provinces' interest — is instead expensive and superfluous, as the directly elected lower house can overrule most of its decisions.
The debate over the upper house has been going on for years in Austria. Salzburg Gov. Gabi Burgstaller demanded on Sunday that the upper house be abolished, saying it had no function as it did not successfully promote provincial interests.
Compiled by FOXNews.com's Paul Wagenseil.
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