10 Infrequently Suspected Deadly or Vicious Animals

May 29, 2013 Naster Rawal 2 Comments


When wading cautiously into the ocean, any apprehension we experience likely forms the mental image of a shark, and the possibility of being bitten. However, a more bizarre danger lurks. Growing up to 3 feet in length,Needlefish are exceedingly thin hunters with an almost heron like bill. Needlefish may swim at speeds of over 30 knots, and may cause fatal collisions with humans. In 1977, a child was pierced by a needlefish in Hawaii, while fishermen in the Philippines fear them above sharks. Several other exceedingly disturbing deaths have followed, including one swimmer whose eye was pierced, causing a fatal brain injury.
Common Adder
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Although its lethality does not compare to the Cobra or Rattlesnake, the presence of a venomous and potentially deadly viper in Britain may come as a surprise. While nearly all venomous snakes occur closer to the equator, the Common Adder inhabits the hedgerows, meadows and moors of the English country side, and frequently bites humans when it enters gardens. Deaths are rare, so the snake is not considered especially dangerous, but over 10 fatalities have occurred in the past 100 years, and death is always a possibility when bitten by this English snake. Puff Adders grow up to a meter in length, and may feed on rodents and birds.
Sperm Whale
Moby Dick may not have been a subject of pure legend, after all. Growing to lengths of 20 meters, Sperm Whales are the largest toothed animal on the planet, and are capable of killing the largest of Giant Squid in spectacular, depth diving battles that rage thousands of meters below the surface. Humans once hunted the whales for their spermaceti for use in oil lamps, but narratives suggest the tables were sometimes turned. In 1820, the Essex and an auxiliary vessel were rammed by a Sperm whale, resulting in the death of crew members. More recently, a Sperm Whale rammed a small boat in Japan, resulting in one drowning.
White-footed Deermouse
The scourge of Bubonic Plague is a thing of the past, but in the forests of Canada and the Northern United States, the exceedingly cute White-footed Deermouse patrols the leaf litter and seeks out sheltered tree stumps. Disturbingly, these rodents carry a deadly infectious agent known as theHantavirus, which may kill up to 40 percent of those exposed to the virus, which is often contained in the rodent’s droppings. Deaths may occur when campers sweep a cabin floor where the mice have left droppings, causing the fine dust to become airborne. The virus may then attack the lungs. In one particular serious case, 4 campers died in California’s Yosemite National Park after deer mouse exposure.
Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula
Tarantulas, especially the recently discovered giant species are frequently stereotyped as deadly animals, along with relatively benign boas and wolves. While their bite is in fact less serious than often believed, Tarantulas are by no means harmless, and present far more insidious threat to humans. Porcupines do not in fact shoot their quills, but the Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula is covered with fine and razor sharp “guard hairs” which it may shoot with great force towards a perceived threat. While death is unlikely, permanent vision loss may result if a pet handler or hiker approaches a Tarantula too closely, provoking hundreds of quills to be shot into their face, where they may lodge in the eyes.

Giant Wolf Fish
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With a name like “Wolf Fish”, it should become immediately apparent that Hoplias aimara offers good reason to avoid stepping into the waters of the Amazon. With thick gray scales and lobed fins, the Wolf Fish may weigh over 80 pounds, and reach over a meter in length. What they lack in length, they make up in sheer width and strength. Using their massive jaws studded with dog like teeth, Wolf Fish hunt as lunge predators, and in several cases were reported to have seized humans who entered the water. The death of a dog was also attributed to this fish with both nature and the weapons needed to ravage its victims. The closely related Atlantic Wolfish, this species’ ocean going equivalent, is equally dangerous, and “may attack objects in the water with its powerful teeth” according to angler warnings.
American Bison
The American Bison is a common symbol of the Wild West, but its identify as a provoker of deadly duels between man and animal is lesser known. Weighing over 2,000 pounds and armed with deadly horns, the American Bison, which is technically not a true buffalo may trample or gore to death any human who finds its way into defended territory. In the early days of settlement, the Bison or “Buffalo” was considered a fearsome killer, on par with the highly respected Grizzly Bear. The Bison’s strength and speed in battering ram charges in response to a threat could pulverize a human victim, and ward off large predators, while a blow from the hoofs could also prove lethal.

While the concept of an angry bull may be well embedded in the human psyche, the Wapiti, or Common Elk is a lesser known but very really threat in the forest. Weighing up to 1,000 pounds, territorial male Wapiti possess a massive rack of antlers, while females are armed with equally heavy hooves and a highly protective attitude. During the rut and breeding season, human intruders face the risk of being gored to death or trampled by these giant deer. In one case, a snarling ungulate attacked a sledder, and he was only able to save himself by firing flares at the magnificent, yet beast. In one case, a farmer was killed by supposedly domesticated Elk. Perhaps Colorado’s Estes is a disaster waiting to happen.
Polar Bear
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The Polar Bear, unlike some entries on this list is a well-known animal. But fame may be followed by misperceptions, and the cute, fluffy and often sad looking icon of the anti-climate change movement is actually a grave threat to human life as it stalks arctic communities. Polar bears are technically classified as a marine mammal, but they are also the largest carnivores to walk on land at over 1500 pounds. Capable of running at over 40 kilometers an hour, Polar bears are capable of rapidly killing any prey item they select. In some cases, Polar Bears have even torn into tents to extract human prey. A number of deaths have occurred over the years, but attacks are still uncommon due to environmental isolation.
Legends such as Red Riding Hood give us the largely unfounded fear we bestow on wolves, the ancestors of domestic dogs. However, while wolves are unlikely to kill humans, a number of maulings and fatal attacks, largely targeting children have occurred in Australia, where the Dingo roams free. As Australia’s equivalent to the wolf, the 40-70 pound dingo is an apex predator with a bone crushing bite, and the ability to bring prey down in packs. Compared to a Gray Wolf, an aggressive Dingo may pose a greater threat to humans due to its increased habituation to man’s presence and opportunism. Territorial defense may have played a role in some fatal attacks.
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Top 10 Young Killers

May 29, 2013 Naster Rawal 2 Comments

Eric Smith
January 22, 1980
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“You may think I’m a threat to the well-being of society. And I can understand why you would feel that way. The fact is that I’m not. I’d be an asset to society.”
At 13, Eric Smith was bullied because of his thick glasses, freckles, long red hair and one other quality: He had protruding, elongated ears. These were believed to be a side effect of medicine his mother had taken for her epilepsy when she was pregnant. Police charged Smith with the murder of a four-year-old boy named Derrick Robie. The younger child had been strangled, had large rocks dropped on his head, and had been sodomized with a small stick. When asked why he did it, Smith cannot give a definite answer. A psychiatrist diagnosed Smith with intermittent explosive disorder, a condition in which a person cannot control inner rage. Smith was convicted and went to prison. As of today, he’s been in prison for six years and has been denied parole five times.
Joshua Phillips
March 17, 1984
“There should be a sensitivity to the fact that a 14-year-old is not a little adult.” – Florida Governor Jeb Bush
What started as a regular room cleaning ended with the conviction of a 14-year-old boy named Joshua Phillips. His mother went to clean up his room one morning after Phillips left for school. Mrs. Phillips noticed a wet spot under her son’s bed and thought it was a leak from his waterbed. As she was investigating the bed to see if it needed to be drained, she found electrical tape holding the frame together. She thought her son had known the about leak but didn’t want to get into trouble. She removed enough tape to discover her son’s sock underneath, but she was surprised to feel something cold. The beam of her flashlight showed her the dead body of Maddie Clifton, an 8-year-old neighbor who had been missing for seven days.
People in the community, especially the boy’s parents, could hardly believe he could have killed Clifton. Phillips was one of the neighbors who had volunteered to search for the missing girl. Because he was under 16, Phillips did not qualify for the death penalty. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, with no possibility of being freed. To this day, Phillips has not stated his motives for killing Clifton. He said he accidentally hit her in the eye with a baseball bat, and then dragged her to his room where he hit and stabbed her, but the jury did not believe his story.
George Stinney
October 21, 1929–June 16, 1944
“only when asked to arise and be sentenced, did he appear nervous and slightly excited” (Rowe, p.1)
On June 16, 1944, the United States set a record when they executed George Stinney (14 years old), the youngest person to be legally executed in the US during the twentieth century. George was convicted of the murder of two girls named Betty June Binnicker (11) and Mary Emma Thames (8) who were both found in a muddy hole. The girls suffered severe fractures to their skulls, inflicted by a railroad spike found some distance from the town. George confessed to the crime and said that he wanted to have sex with Betty but ended up killing the girls. He was tried and sentenced to death in the electric chair; the case was not appealed because his family had no money to pay for a continuation. 
Lionel Tate
January 30, 1987
“I was imitating the professional wrestlers”
What might be thought of as a regular TV wrestling match led to the death of a six-year-old girl named Tiffany Eunick. Kathleen Grossett-Tate was trusted to babysit Tiffany and brought her over to her house one evening. She left Tiffany with her son Lionel, age 14, to watch the television when she went upstairs. Around 10 p.m., she yelled at the children to be quiet, but didn’t check what the noise was about, thinking that they were just playing. Forty-five minutes later, Lionel called to his mother and told her that the girl was not breathing. He explained that they had been wrestling and he had her in a headlock as he slammed her on the table.
Authorities were called and a medical examiner reported that the cause of death was due to forceful stomping that lacerated Tiffany’s liver. Aside from that, experts testified that the girl suffered a fractured skull and rib, swelling in the brain from a beating that lasted from one to five minutes, and 35 other injuries. Tate changed his statement later and said that he jumped on her from the staircase. Tate was sentenced to a lifetime of imprisonment without parole in 2001, but his sentence was overturned on the basis that he was not given a mental competency hearing before, or during, the trial. He was released in 2004 with 10 years’ probation.
Barry Dale Loukaitis
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“This sure beats algebra, doesn’t it?”
On February 2, 1996, the Frontier Middle School was devastated by a hostage-taking incident and shooting spree that occurred in an algebra class. It took the lives of three people (two students and a teacher) and resulted in the critical injury of one student. The person accused was a 14-year-old boy named Barry Dale Loukaitis, who was experiencing delusional and messianic thoughts before the shooting. Barry was dressed to look like a gunslinger from the Wild West in a black duster, and armed with a .30-30 caliber rifle, a .357 caliber pistol and a .25 caliber pistol that belonged to his father. The students were held hostage for 10 minutes before a gym coach tricked and outwitted the boy.
It was believed that, aside from a history of mental illness and dysfunctional issues in his family, Barry was influenced by Pearl Jam’s song and video “Jeremy.” The video shows a troubled youth committing suicide in front of his classmates and teacher. It was also reported that he said “This sure beats algebra, doesn’t it?” when he saw his classmates panic. This is a quote from a Stephen King novel, Rage, in which the protagonist kills two teachers and takes his algebra class hostage. Barry is currently serving two life sentences, with an additional 205 years in prison.
Craig Price
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“As far as the girls go, it was my utmost intention to let them live.”
Joan Heaton (39), along with her two daughters, Jennifer (10) and Melissa (8), were found lifeless, blood-soaked and brutally murdered in their home on September 4, 1989. They were stabbed so fiercely that the knife broke off in Melissa’s neck. Police reported that Joan had approximately 60 stab wounds, while the young girls had approximately 30. The authorities believed that burglary was the suspect’s main motive; the knife used was from the Heaton’s kitchen and the women had possibly caught the suspect and fought against him. It was also believed that the burglar must have been someone from the Heaton’s neighborhood, who would have obtained a cut or wound in the hand, due to the force and number of times the victims were stabbed.
Craig was spotted by the police with a bandage on his hand, but said that he had smashed a car’s window. The police did not believe his story. They investigated him and charged him after finding the knife, gloves and other bloody items when they searched Craig’s room. He admitted to the crime and to another murder that had taken place in the neighborhood two years earlier. The authorities already suspected him as the murderer in that case, which was similar to Heaton’s and had started as burglary. Craig was tried and convicted before his 16th birthday, and is still in jail.
Graham Young
September 7, 1947 – August 22, 1990
“It grew on me like a drug habit, except it was not me who was taking the drugs.”
At an early age, Graham Young had been fascinated with chemistry, particularly types of poison and their effects on people. His other great interest was idolizing murderers such as Dr. Hawley Crippen, William Palmer, Adolf Hitler and others. Young started experimenting with poisons when he was 14. He usually lied about his age, and explained that a given poison was for a school experiment so he could buy the chemicals he needed. His family and friends were his victims. His father, upon becoming ill, originally thought he just had a virus of some sort. Then the apparent illness struck his wife and daughter. All suffered from continuous vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pains. In 1962, the mother of Young’s stepmother died from poisoning.
At 14, Young already had the expertise of a postgraduate chemistry student, all self-learned through library books. He sometimes became a victim of his own poisoning when he forgot on which foods he had placed his toxic chemicals. Young was caught when his teacher inspected his desk one evening after school, suspicious about the odd experiments Young was suggesting to the class. The teacher found poisons, essays about famous prisoners, and sketches of dying men. These revelations led him to call the police. Young was sent to a maximum security hospital, but this did not stop him from poisoning hospital staff and fellow inmates (one of whom died). His knowledge was so broad that he could extract cyanide from laurel bush leaves. Young was released when he was 23 and went to live with his sister. His poisoning spree continued—his victims most often were coworkers. Young was sent back to prison and eventually died there.
Jesse Pomeroy
November 29, 1859–September 29, 1932
Jesse Pomeroy
“I might have done it.”
Jesse Pomeroy, born on November 29, 1959, in Charlestown, Massachusetts, was referred to as the youngest person convicted of murder, in the first degree, in the history of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Pomeroy started his cruel acts against other children when he was 11. He had taken and trapped seven children in a hidden spot where he would strip, tie and torture them, by using a knife or by poking pins into their flesh. He was caught and sent to a reform school, where he was supposed to stay until he was 21, but was released after a year and a half for good behavior.
After three years, he had changed from bad to worse. He kidnapped and killed a 10 year old girl, named Katie Curran, and was also accused of the murder of a four year old boy, whose mutilated body was found in Dorchester Bay. Although there is a lack of evidence that can conclusively link Pomeroy to the little boy’s death, he was convicted for the death of Katie when the police found her body in the basement of Pomeroy’s mother’s dress shop, where it was carelessly left in an ash heap. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, which he served in solitary confinement; he died of natural causes at the age of 72.
Jon Venables and Robert Thompson
August 13, 1982, August 23, 1982
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“All little boys are nice until they get older.” – Robert Thompson
James Bulger’s mother left her two-year-old son at the butcher shop’s door thinking that it would not take her long to return, since there was no queue in the store.  Little did she know that it would be her last time she would see her son alive.
Jon and Robert, who were at the same mall as the Bulgers, were participating in their usual activities: skipping class, browsing the stores, pocketing things when the salespeople turned their backs, and climbing chairs in the restaurants until they were chased out. The boys came up with an idea to have a little boy get lost outside so that he would get knocked over by a vehicle. It was reported that the boys had a similar previous attempt on a boy before James, which failed because the mother had become aware of her missing child and found him before they could take him outside.
During their two-mile walk, the 10-year-old boys had punched, kicked, picked up and dropped James on his head. Some of the acts were seen by passersby who ignored them, thinking that they were just two older brothers who didn’t know how to take care of their younger brother. Jon and Robert brought James onto the local railway, where they flung paint in his left eye, threw stones at him, beat him with bricks, and hit him with an iron bar. They also sexually assaulted him and laid his body on the railroad track, covering his bleeding head with bricks when they thought he was dead. It was reported that James died sometime before the train hit him.
Mary Bell
May 26, 1957
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“Murder isn’t that bad; we all die sometime anyway.”
Brian Howe was found dead and covered with purple weeds and grass, days after the death of Martin Brown who died of asphyxiation. His hair was cut away, puncture marks were found on his thighs, and his genitals were partially skinned. Apart from these marks and injuries, a letter “M” had been imprinted on his stomach. This was originally an “N,” but Mary added a line to make it look like an “M.” The three-year-old boy had been strangled to death. When the investigation narrowed down to Mary Bell, she implicated herself by describing in detail a pair of broken scissors—which was confidential evidence—that had been played with by an 8-year-old boy whom Brian was allegedly with, according to Bell.
Mary’s family background may be responsible for her unusual behavior. She thought for a long time that her father was Billy Bell, a habitual criminal who had been arrested for armed robbery, but her biological father is unknown to this day. Mary claimed that her mother, Betty, who was a prostitute, had forced her to engage in sexual acts with men—particularly her mother’s clients—at the age of four. Mary ended up at an all-boys facility after her trial; she was too young to be held in prison and too dangerous to be kept in an unequipped mental hospital or an institution that housed troubled children. Her mother repeatedly sold Mary’s story to the press at the time of her daughter’s conviction. Mary was only 11 at that time. She was released after 23 years and fought and won the case for both her own anonymity and that of her daughter. This order is consequently known as a Mary Bell Order.


Top 10 Famous People Who Died In Car Accidents

May 29, 2013 Naster Rawal 1 Comments

10. Lady Diana Spencer, British royal, 1997

Few celebrity deaths were as controversial as that of the one-time Princess of Wales, Lady Diana Spencer (often referred to as “Lady Di”) who died alongside her fiancée, Egyptian magnate Dodi Fayed, and their driver in an underground tunnel in Paris on August 31st, 1997. It was reported the entourage were fleeing the paparazzi at the time of the crash, with speeds reaching triple digits, before their Mercedes hit a concrete pylon, killing three of the car’s four occupants. Her funeral not only became a media sensation a few days later, but her death has created a flurry of conspiracy theories that continue to swirl to this day, the most outrageous being that she was assassinated to prevent the increasingly outspoken ex-royal from revealing closely guarded family secrets. All such rumors (including one that she was murdered by the British Intelligence service MI5) were found to be baseless, the cause of the crash being attributed primarily to the actions of the driver, who was intoxicated at the time.

9. Jayne Mansfield, Actress, 1967

Known as the “working man’s Marilyn Monroe”, this buxomly blond was a major Hollywood sex symbol of the 50s and 60s, rivaling even the more famous Monroe (who preceded her with her own untimely death five years earlier). A major star of both stage and screen by the mid 50s, with the decrease in demand for big-breasted blonde bombshells and the increase in the negative backlash against her over-publicity, she had become a box-office has-been by the time of her death in 1967. Riding with her manager and another man (with her three young children asleep in the back seat) near Slidell, Louisiana, their 1966 Buick Electra rear ended a slow-moving tractor-trailer in the dark, killing all three adults in the front seat. (Her children, asleep at the time, all survived with minor injuries.) Rumors that she had been decapitated proved to be untrue (though she was effectively scalped, which was probably the source of the rumors).

8. Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, 1982

It was the perfect Hollywood story: starlet of the silver screen marries European prince and becomes a princess in real life. Only no one would have ever imagined the tragic ending for this 1950s equivalent of Charles and Lady Di (see no. 10) who, ironically, would share similar fates. Driving along the serpentine highways of Monaco (a small, coastal principality on the southern coast of France) with her daughter Stephanie, her majesty apparently suffered a stroke and drove down a mountainside, killing her and badly injuring the 25 year old Stephanie. Unlike Princess Diana’s death, however, this time there were no conspiracy theories surrounding her tragic demise; just a sad ending to one of European royalties’ most successful marriages and the life of one of Hollywood’s most beautiful starlets of the fifties.

7. General George S. Patton, WWII General, 1945

It is the height of irony that a man known as one of the greatest soldiers in history should die in a common auto accident, but that was the fate life dealt to old “blood and guts”–the man considered by many to have been the finest field commander of World War II. He was being chauffeured through the streets of Bad Neuheim on the afternoon of December 8, 1945, when the vehicle he was riding in collided with an Army truck that had turned in front of them, breaking his neck and leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. He died 13 days later in his sleep of a pulmonary edema and congestive heart failure and was buried at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial in Hamm, Luxembourg alongside other wartime casualties of the Third Army in keeping with his request to “be buried with my men.” A most unbefitting demise for a man who was quoted as saying the only way for a real soldier to die was from the last bullet fired in the last battle of the last war.

6. Billy Martin, N.Y. Yankees Baseball Manager, 1989

The colorful and often controversial manager of the New York Yankees, Martin had a reputation for turning losing teams into winners and for his animated arguments with umpires. Frequently fired and rehired as the team’s manager (along with stints with several other AL teams during his career) he was working as a special consultant to George Steinbrenner when he was killed in a low speed, single vehicle collision during an ice storm near his farm in Port Crane, New York on Christmas Day, 1989. According to police reports, he was a passenger in his truck being driven home by an inebriated friend who lost control of the vehicle and skidded it down an embankment, mortally injuring the unbelted Martin.

5. Dottie West, American Country Music Singer, 1991

One of the few women to make a name for herself in the largely male-dominated country music industry of the 60s and 70s, West was in the twilight of her career when she was badly injured in an auto accident in August of 1991 near Nashville. Hitching a ride with a friend to a performance at the Grand Ol’ Opry, the vehicle took an exit too fast and hit a concrete pylon, totaling the vehicle. Initially West thought she was uninjured in the crash, but it turned out she had a ruptured spleen and lacerated liver, which doctors were attempting to repair when she died on the operating table a few days later, ending the life of one of Country music’s legends.

4. Eddie Cochran, Rock and Roll singer, 1960

A contemporary of the ill-fated Buddy Holly–whom he sometimes toured with–this up and coming rock and roll singer of the fifties shared Holly’s fate (to a degree; Holly died in a plane crash) when he was killed in a taxi accident near Chippenham, England in April of 1960. Curiously, he shared a number of coincidences with his contemporary: both were pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly, both died at about the same age, both were at the height of their careers when they died, and both died tragically just a year apart. (This is why some claim that Cochran was a victim of the “Holly curse.”) It has always been a source of considerable speculation how the music scene of the sixties would have turned out if both men had lived.

3. Pete Conrad, U.S. Astronaut, 1999

Astronaut Charles 'Pete' Conrad
Navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut, Conrad was just the third man to step foot on the moon in November, 1969, forever immortalizing him among the tiny (and ever shrinking) pantheon of men who could make such a claim. (It is said that were it not for a change in scheduling, Conrad would have been commander of Apollo 11 and, hence, would have been the first man on the moon.) Having lived such a risk-filled life, it’s ironic then that he would die in a fairly unspectacular motorcycle accident that he walked away from apparently without a scratch. He died six hours later, however, from internal injuries and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors–the first of the “lunar twelve” to leave us.

2. Jackson Pollock, Abstract Impressionist Painter, 1956

Pollock was one of the most influential painters in American and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement when he died in an alcohol-related car accident near his home in Springs, New York in August of 1956. A recluse most of his life known for his volatile personality and struggles with alcoholism, he was just 44 when he went off the side of the road and flipped his Oldsmobile, killing him and one other passenger in his car. It was largely through the efforts of his wife, Lee Krasner, that he remained well known within the art community long after tastes in art had changed, giving him greater fame after his death than he achieved in life. (An apparently common fate for artists.) So renown is he considered today, in fact, that Hollywood made a critically acclaimed movie about the man in 2000.

1. James Dean, Actor, 1955

Few deaths had as big an impact on American youth of the 1950s as that of actor James Dean, who died much the way he had lived: fast and quick. Only 24 years, the up-and-coming actor, best known for his portrayals of brooding, dark teenagers, was driving his Porsche 550 Spyder near Cholame, California on September 30, 1955, when he collided head on with a 1950 Ford Coupe that had crossed the centerline in an effort to make a left-hand turn. (There is some speculation that he may have actually been a passenger, with his co-driver, German mechanic Rolf Wutherich, behind the wheel.) In either case, both men were severely injured in the crash, with Dean dying on the way to the hospital. (The belief that he was speeding at the time of the crash has never been substantiated, despite the fact that he had received a speeding ticket earlier that day.) Ironically, Wutherich himself was to survive his injuries only to die in another car crash 26 years later, causing some people to maintain that a “curse” hung over Dean and his “death car” which, after being shown around the country as part of a driving safety demo, mysteriously disappeared.
Other Notables: N.C.Wyeth, American Painter; Johnny Horton, Country Singer; Mel Ott, Baseball Player; and Steve Allen, Comedian.