An illegally parked train got an equally humongous parking ticket of $5,000, according to the Beacon News of Aurora, Ill.
At 7:44 a.m. last Friday, a Burlington Northern Santa Fe (search) train stopped on a railroad crossing in the tiny hamlet of Big Rock, Ill., about 50 miles west of downtown Chicago — and stayed there.
Traffic began backing up on Rhodes Street, the town's main north-south road, and then spilled out onto U.S. Route 30, which runs east-west. The entire town became gridlocked and emergency vehicles couldn't get from one side of Big Rock to the other.
A Kane County sheriff's deputy marched up, directed traffic for a while, and then got the train number and wrote the railroad a ticket: $1,000 for the first 25 minutes the train was stopped, and $500 for every additional five minutes.
Since the train didn't move again until 8:51 a.m., 67 minutes after it stopped, that worked out to an even five grand.
The Kane County sheriff's office said the railroad had violated safety requirements in the Illinois Vehicle Code (search).
Steve Forsberg, general director of public affairs for Burlington Northern Santa Fe, said Monday the railroad tries not to block any traffic crossing for more than 15 minutes.
He added that the Rhodes Street crossing was "an ideal candidate" for what's called a "grade separation" — i.e., building a bridge or tunnel so that the roadway and railway don't intersect.
Stealing From Children Runs in the Family
A Canadian family has been charged for literally robbing a child's piggy bank.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, police said Tuesday that a 13-year-old boy offered to be friends with an 8-year-old if the younger child would give him his video games, game cards and piggy banks.
The 8-year-old came back to school later in the day with all the loot, including two piggy banks filled nearly $1,000 in Canadian currency ($730 U.S.), reported the Canadian Press wire service.
The teenager took the goods home, and he, his 20-year-old sister and 42-year-old mother went on a bit of a spending spree.
The 8-year-old's family later went to the cops. Efforts at mediation went nowhere.
The women have been charged with possession of stolen goods, while the 13-year-old has been given an official caution.
Chicken Killers Ordered to Clean Coops
STATESBORO, Ga. (AP) — Seven teenagers who beheaded two chickens because they were curious whether they would run around with their heads cut off will soon learn a lot more about the birds.
A judge ordered the five boys and two girls — ages 17 to 19 — to clean chicken coops and read a book about animals' feelings as part of their sentence.
In September 2003, the seven teens went to a Wal-Mart and bought machetes, kitchen knives and a hatchet, then drove to a chicken farm and stole eight chickens. They beheaded two chickens, videotaping the carnage before the homeowner caught them.
The chickens "sort of ran a very short distance and they sort of flopped over," said defense attorney Garland Moore, who attributed the teens' behavior to youthful curiosity. "I think their thirst for knowledge exceeded their judgment."
The teens were convicted of animal cruelty charges.
Judge John R. Turner on Friday instructed them to read a book about animal cruelty and turn in a report on it. They were also ordered to perform community service hours cleaning chicken houses.
Moore criticized the state for initially charging the teens with the deaths of eight chickens, not two, on the premise the other six died because of the stress of witnessing the beheadings.
"Had the state pressed the issue, I was prepared to ask for an autopsy on the six chickens to determine if they actually died from stress," he quipped.
— Thanks to Out There reader Trish M.
Passionate Woman Bites Off Boyfriend's Tongue While Kissing
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A St. Paul woman who became frightened Wednesday morning when her boyfriend squeezed her too tightly while they kissed ended up biting off part of his tongue, police said.
"I guess I bit down too hard," the woman told officers, explaining that she has been victimized by men.
The woman, who is 43, was arrested for assault and could be charged Thursday in Ramsey County, investigators said.
The man who was bitten, who is 47 and also from St. Paul, walked with the woman from her home to a restaurant, where they called police around 3:10 a.m. He was taken to Regions Hospital (search), where he was treated and released.
Officers went to the woman's home to look for the tongue, but they couldn't find it.
The woman, who had been drinking with her boyfriend, told them she doesn't remember what happened to the end of his tongue. Police estimate that it measured about 1.5 inches.
She might have swallowed it, the woman said.
Elderly Woman Aims at Squirrel, Shoots Self
LAPORTE, Ind. (AP) — A 78-year-old woman tired of a squirrel raiding her bird feeder got out her shotgun to kill the critter, but instead accidentally shot and injured herself.
Alberta Jones loaded her 16-gauge shotgun Sunday and carried it with the barrel pointed down to the back door to take aim, police said. The gun accidentally discharged, police said, and shotgun pellets ricocheted off the floor.
Both of her legs were struck by the pellets, and one in her knees required surgery Tuesday to remove.
Her hospital condition was not available Tuesday evening.
"I've tried everything to shag them away, and they keep coming back," Jones said of the squirrels after the incident.
Conservation officer Jerry Shepherd with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (search) said it is not squirrel season, and that hunting game out of season is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum 60 days in jail and up to a $500 fine. Authorities are not pressing charges.
Jones vowed to keep shooting at squirrels and using firecrackers — as she has done several times before — to discourage them from getting into her bird feeder. She also shoots groundhogs and other animals she considers a nuisance.
"My neighbors call me Annie Oakley," she said.
Huge Lobster Guards Ticking Treasure
LONDON (AP) — Lobsters have long been known as solitary and territorial crustaceans — but timely and fashion-conscious?
Divers in northeast England were recently surprised to come across a giant lobster standing guard over a barnacle-encrusted watch at the bottom of a harbor.
Maybe the lobster just knew a bargain: The watch was still ticking.
The watch and its 2-foot-long guardian were found by divers doing maintenance work in Blyth harbor, officials said Thursday.
"We're all highly experienced divers, and none of us has seen anything like this before," said Graham McDonnar, a member of the Lady Francis Dive Team (search).
"Not only is this the biggest lobster any of us have ever come across under water, but it's also the first sea creature we've encountered that can tell the time," he joked.
The lobster, estimated to be about 30 years old, was taken to the Blue Reef Aquarium (search) in Tynemouth, where it is settling in well in the harbor tank display.
"Lobsters are well known for being extremely territorial," especially regarding their habitats, said one Blue Reef official, Zahra d'Aronville. "Perhaps it identified the watch as part of its territory and has been standing guard over it ever since."
If the aquarium isn't allowed to keep the watch, it will buy the lobster a waterproof replacement, "as he's clearly very keen on being on time," d'Aronville said.
Compiled by Foxnews.com's Paul Wagenseil.
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