Pondering Fate, Chance and Destiny
For many people, life is all about the luck of the draw, the crumble of the cookie or the way the ball bounces. From the AP wires yesterday, here are three stories with the convergent theme of ball games. The first two are about people who benefited from the bounce of the ball. The third story is about a man who did not depend on chance, instead, he "made something happen."
DALTON, Ga. — A Georgia truck driver stepped forward Wednesday to claim half of a $390 million jackpot, the richest lottery prize in U.S. history.
"I'm going to do a lot of fishing," Ed Nabors, 52, of Rocky Face, Ga., about 90 miles north of Atlanta, said in a deep Southern drawl. The other winning ticket in Tuesday night's Mega Millions drawing was sold at a liquor store in New Jersey, and the holder did not immediately come forward.
Nabors bought his ticket when he stopped in for his weekly cup of coffee at a convenience store in Dalton — the self-proclaimed "Carpet Capital of the World" — near a carpet mill run by his employer, Mohawk Industries.
He said he didn't learn he had won until 9 a.m. — about 10 hours after the numbers were announced — when his co-workers told them that someone bought the winning ticket in Dalton.
"I'm still numb," he said.
He elected to take his winnings in a lump sum instead of annual installments, and will get $116.5 million before taxes, or more than $80 million after.
LOS ANGELES — A man who was cleared of murder when outtakes from the HBO comedy "Curb Your Enthusiasm" put him at Dodger Stadium when the crime occurred will get $320,000 in a settlement with the city.
The Los Angeles City Council agreed Wednesday to settle the police misconduct lawsuit filed by Juan Catalan, who spent nearly five months in jail before footage from the show cemented his alibi.
Catalan, 28, was arrested for the May 2003 slaying of Martha Puebla, 16, outside her Sun Valley home. He told detectives he was innocent and was at a Dodgers game when the crime occurred.
His defense lawyer, Todd Melnik, went through footage of crowd shots from the televised game between the Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves, but did not find his client. Then he learned that the HBO comedy starring former "Seinfeld" co-creator Larry David had been shooting at the ballpark that day.
"There he was in the outtakes," said Gary S. Casselman, the attorney handling Catalan's lawsuit. "He's glad it's over."
The scene, which ended up on the cutting room floor, showed Catalan with his 6-year-old daughter and two friends. The footage was time coded, confirming that Catalan was at the ballpark shortly before the time of the murder 20 miles away.
Records of a cell phone call, made from Dodger Stadium, between Catalan and his girlfriend also helped persuade a judge to release him.
Someone else is now being prosecuted for the slaying, Casselman said.
Great Balls afire!
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — Attempts to duplicate a movie stunt landed one man in the hospital with burned genitals and another facing criminal charges.
The men were trying to do a stunt from one of the "Jackass" movies, in which a character lights his genitals on fire.
Jared W. Anderson, 20, suffered serious burns to his hands and genitals, according to the criminal complaint. Randell D. Peterson, 43, who sprayed lighter fluid on Anderson and lit him on fire, was charged with felony battery and first-degree reckless endangerment Tuesday in Eau Claire County Court.
Witnesses told police that Anderson, who was drunk, volunteered to do the stunt Sunday after watching the movie, the complaint said.
After Peterson ignited Anderson, he ran into the bathroom, jumped into the tub and put the flames out, according to the complaint. He was taken to Luther Hospital, and eventually treated at the Regions Hospital Burn Unit in St. Paul, Minn., for second-degree burns.