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Wash and Go

First publishedin World Highways
2017 November December
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WASH AND GO
A New York banker has reason to regret the way he split up with his former partner. He was on holiday in the Bahamas when he decided to tell his girlfriend that they were no longer an item. She was infuriated with this, as well as his backtracking on a promise to invest in a business she was developing. Her response was swift and sure, if a little erratic. She drove his high-end Mercedes, worth around US$100,000, into his swimming pool. The car was later retrieved, in a somewhat waterlogged condition.

AT THE WHEEL?
A court in the UK saw heavy fines imposed on a father and his son following a speeding incident. The car had been spotted driving at 160km/h (100mph) along the M25 motorway around London. However both men claimed that they were unable to recall who was at the wheel at the time. The two appealed on their initial fines and costs but were rewarded with further fines instead.

HOW OFTEN?
A driver in the US state of Minnesota has been charged with drunk-driving for the 28th time. Of these DUI offences, 23 were committed in his home state of Minnesota and a further three over the state line in North Dakota. The man did have a valid license when he was arrested however, as Minnesota is not able to force a permanent ban on drivers who have committed serial DUI offences. Instead, Minnesota only bans drivers who have committed DUI offences for set times.

FEELING YELLOW
A man in New Zealand grew so tired of poorly parked cars blocking the road in which he lived that he started painting yellow lines at the roadside. Over a period of 20 years the man painted the lines by hand using a brush, as he said the road, in Wellington, was too narrow for cars to be parked safely. After years of sneaking out when no-one was looking to paint the lines and touch them up, the local council has finally admitted that there may be a problem with parking in the area. In one incident, a fire crew had to tow a parked car out of the way when a fire truck was attempting to pass through the street. Rubbish collection trucks have also had difficulties in accessing the street. However the local council is now considering making his illegal painted lines legal, ensuring that no cars would be allowed to park at the roadside.

WHEELIE BAD
A motorcycle rider in the UK caused concern when he popped a wheelie on his bike and rode on his back wheel most of the way from Coventry to Birmingham. The man was filmed as he rode, along with a group of other motorcyclists. Police received a number of complaints from members of the public that the riders were behaving in an anti-social manner. It is not clear yet if police have been able to locate the wheelie offender, although videos of the ride had been posted on social media, attracting praise and presumably approval from similarly careless riders.

DONKEY SNACK
A curious legal case in Germany has been the cause for some comment. The case in question has focussed on issues of liability in rather unusual circumstances. A high-performance and highly costly Maclaren sportscar was parked by its owner next to a paddock containing a donkey. The bright orange car attracted the attention of a donkey, which proceeded to chew the rear of the vehicle, resulting in damage costing several thousand Euros. However the owner of the donkey in question claimed that there was no way it could be proven that his animal had caused the damage, as there appeared to be no specific evidence revealing the identity of the culprit. The animal’s owner also pointed out that the car’s owner should not have parked the vehicle next to the paddock. It is not clear if DNA data was recovered from the car or of bite marks were measured, or indeed stool samples examined.

CONSTRUCTION CHALLENGE
A driver under the influence of alcohol posed an additional challenge for a construction project to build the new Rouge River Bridge in the US state of Michigan. The wayward vehicle luckily avoided hitting a guard and was also lucky not to collide with a row of portable toilets installed at the construction site. The car did however crash into steel that had just been laid for a concrete pour, causing extensive damage. However the driver was fortunate that the steel had been installed as without it, the vehicle could have fallen from height, with potentially serious consequences.

SPEEDING OFFENCE
A British man was suspicious that his girlfriend had been having an affair with another person. And after seeing a number of messages on her phone as she slept, his suspicions were confirmed. Consumed with anger, he decided to take revenge and drove off in her car, deliberately passing a speed camera while driving too fast for the posted limit. He then returned home and parked the car while she slept on, unaware of what had happened. The girl’s father was the registered keeper of the vehicle so when he received details of the offence, he asked his daughter and her (ex-)partner what had occurred. Phone data recovered showed a number of messages sent from the girl’s phone and the times of these confirmed that she had not been driving. Her (ex-)partner was subsequently charged and fined.

WHAT A BEAR DOES IN THE WOODS?
An adventurous bicycle rider in Alaska had an experience that was perhaps too adventurous, even for him. The man rounded a corner on a trail running through some woods, only to encounter a bear sitting just a short distance ahead on the very track he was using. Shocked at the presence of the large and potentially dangerous mammal, the cyclist promptly fell off his mountain bike. Quickly remounting his bicycle, the man sped off back in the direction he had just come from. The bear meanwhile seemed unfazed by the experience and did not even move itself on seeing the cyclist.

STANDING HIS GROUND
In China, video footage was taken of a man climbing onto the roof of his own car while it was moving. The man was severely drunk and was charged with a DUI offence by officers in eastern China's Anhui province.

THAT’S FINE
A Spanish cyclist was given a €1,000 for cycling while under the influence (CUI). This is an offence in Spain and police imposed the fine after stopping the man, who was obviously drunk, as he rode up to a checkpoint. A breath test showed his blood alcohol level to be four times the permitted amount. The man did not seem particularly perturbed at being charged however and hopped off his bicycle and began pushing it, commenting to officer that he intended to stop elsewhere and consume yet more alcohol.

FASTER?
In the UK a young mother hit speeds of up to 190km/h (120mph) while being pursued along a stretch of motorway. She had been driving a number of her friends home following a party but was spotted by officers in a police patrol car when she sped past their vehicle at excessive speed. Realising that she was now being pursued she opted to drive faster and when she diverted onto minor roads, raced through several red lights and into oncoming traffic, before veering back onto the motorway. Several more police cars joined the pursuit, which only ended when the engine of her VW exploded. Although she ran away from her car she was quickly caught and arrested. She was jailed for 12 months and also collected a series of points on her licence for the offence. She did not explain her behaviour and nor were officers able to understand as the vehicle, though uninsured, was her own and she was not engaged in any criminal activity other than her appalling standard of driving.

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