The Darwin Awards

1998 Darwin Awards

Next Prev Random Honoring Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool--by removing themselves from it.

Hanging Around Jail
1998 Darwin Award Winner
Confirmed True by Darwin

Escaping Conviction
December 1997, Pennsylvania  |   A prisoner in the new Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh attempted to evade his punishment by engineering an escape from his confinement. Jerome constructed a hundred-foot rope of bedsheets, broke through a supposedly shatter-proof cell window, and began to climb to freedom down his makeshift ladder.

It is not known whether his plan took into account the curiosity of drivers on the busy street and Liberty Bridge below. It certainly did not take into account the sharp edges of the glass, the worn nature of the bedsheet, or the great distance to the pavement. The bottom of the knotted bedsheet was eighty-six feet short of the ground. But our hero did not reach the end of his rope. The windowpane sliced through the weak cloth and dropped him to his untidy demise 150 feet below.

But wait, there's more!

Apparently the jailhouse rumor of the previous death did not reach a prisoner who was awaiting transfer to a federal penitentiary one year later. He tied eight bedsheets together and rappelled from his seventh-floor window, only to find that the rope fell twenty-five feet short of the ground. Luckier than Jerome, he merely fractured his ankle and scraped his face.

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Reference: Louisville Eccentric Observer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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