The Odd Side – June 16, 2015

Bridge Closed for 2nd Night Over Swarms of Mayflies, Crashes

WRIGHTSVILLE, Pa. (AP) – A bridge has been closed for a second straight night because of swarms of mayflies so thick they caused accidents, authorities said.

Wrightsville fire officials said the Route 462 bridge over the Susquehanna River between Columbia and Wrightsville closed at about 10:00 p.m. Sunday.

Chief Chad Livelsberger said a vehicle slowing because of the cloud of insects led to a crash, though he didn’t believe anyone was seriously hurt. The bridge reopened overnight.

The bridge was also shut down Saturday night after three motorcycle crashes attributed to the flies. Livelsberger says the department was dispatched to deal with one crash and saw two more crashes while on the scene. All three victims were treated at the scene.

“It was just crazy,” Livelsberger told the York Dispatch on Sunday afternoon. “It was an inch to two inches of mayflies on the road.”

Livelsberger said motorists driving through a mayfly swarm should treat it like an actual blizzard, expecting zero visibility and remains creating a slick coating on the ground.

“If they’re going through something like that, err on the side of caution,” he said.

Lt. Sean Montgomery of the Columbia Borough Fire Department compared driving on the bug-covered surface to driving on ice or snow — but he said the winter scenario doesn’t include the horrendous smell, “like dead fish.”

Tom Smith of the Penn State Extension in York County said despite the hazards and annoyance that the swarms are causing, it’s actually a good thing in the broad scheme of things.

“They’re indicators of clearer water,” Smith said. “It’s indicating that the Susquehanna River’s getting cleaner.”

Police: Lotto Winner Leaves Behind Voucher at Turnpike Plaza

BEDFORD, Pa. (AP) – Police say a man accidentally left a Pennsylvania Turnpike plaza without claiming a $500 prize from a scratch-off lottery ticket, only to have another man claim the winnings.

Troopers from the Bedford barracks say the York man accidentally left the voucher displayed on a machine at the South Midway Service Plaza on Friday morning.

The man had scanned the ticket to verify his winnings, but didn’t want to take a paper voucher — though he left with his winning information still displayed on the lottery machine.

That’s when another man walked up, claimed the winnings, and used them to buy $78 worth of tickets and the other $422 in a money order.

School District’s Diploma Cover Features Wrong State Seal

KELSO, Wash. (AP) – High school graduates in Kelso, Washington, discovered an error when they received their diplomas during Saturday’s graduation ceremony.

The covers protecting the diplomas carried the state seal of Oregon. Kelso High School is in southwest Washington.

Media in Portland, Oregon, reports that the diplomas did list the correct high school.

Kelso superintendent Glenn Gelbrich says the mistake was an ordering error. The error was discovered after the ceremony was underway.

Students will receive new diploma covers.

The diplomas are valid.

Two Girls Told to Close Lemonade Stand for Lack of Permit

OVERTON, Texas (AP) – Two Texas girls whose lemonade stand was shut down because they lacked a permit will instead offer the drink for free.

Media station KLTV reports that 8-year-old Andria Green and her 7-year-old sister, Zoey, will take only donations for lemonade Saturday in Overton, about 120 miles east of Dallas.

A police officer on Monday approached the stand, which offered lemonade for 50 cents and “kettle korn” for $1.

In patrol-car video, the officer can be heard asking the girls’ mother, Sandi Evans, for a permit. She says she wasn’t aware they needed one.

A family friend went to City Hall to get one. Authorities waived the $150 fee, but said health department officials needed to inspect the stand.

Overton’s police chief says police must follow state health guidelines.

Report of Plane Crash Actually Monster Truck’s Bath Time

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) – Ambulances, law enforcement officers and several emergency responders rushed to a property in southwest Missouri upon receiving a report of a possible plane crash.

Instead, they found a man washing his jet-powered semi — named “Shockwave” — on Monday afternoon.

Owner Neal Darnell’s new neighbors called 911 after hearing the loud noise and seeing smoke over their tree line.

Darnell said he recently raced the vehicle, which can reach 376 miles per hour, on a dirt course so it needed to be washed on Monday, the Springfield News-Leader reported. To wash the 36,000-horsepower truck, Darnell has to use its jet engines, which causes a lot of noise and white smoke.

“We do it from time to time and it will usually generate a couple of 911 calls, but today for some reason it brought out a whole army of emergency vehicles,” Darnell said.

A Greene County sheriff’s deputy told the newspaper that no citations were issued and that the 911 callers had acted in good faith because they believed someone might be in danger.

Man Dismissed From Jury Duty For Wearing Prisoner Costume

ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. (AP) – A Vermont man has escaped jury duty — by getting dismissed for wearing a prisoner costume.

James Lowe of Barnet says he was released from jury duty on Tuesday when he showed up to court wearing a black-and-white-striped jumpsuit with a matching beanie.

The Caledonian Record reports that Lowe showed up on time and joined other prospective jurors before the start of the selection process. Deputies directed him to an empty courtroom to meet with the judge, who told him to leave.

Lowe says the judge told him he could’ve been found in contempt of court. That could’ve meant a fine or jail time.

Lowe says the juror instructions don’t restrict clothing, but that he’s happy to be released because of his work schedule and family obligations.