Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Wisconsin man injured while flipping off trains

From the Star Tribune:
APPLETON, Wis. -- A man in a wheelchair who makes obscene gestures to the crews of passing trains was injured when he got a little too close to one of them, police said.

A gas tank on a train engine clipped the wheelchair of Leland Laird, 54, Tuesday evening, causing him to fall out of the damaged chair and injure his arm, police said.

Laird told officers he has been wheelchair-bound since 1989 when a car he was driving was struck by a train near Fremont.

But that's not the reason he periodically "flips off'' the trains, Lt. Pat Matuszewski said.

He told police he puts himself where train crews can see him - engineers and conductors consider him a regular - and makes obscene gestures because he is frustrated by their loud horns.

"He lives right near the intersection. That's his way of addressing the loud horns blowing,'' Matuszewski said.

Laird was treated at Appleton Medical Center for an abrasion to his left arm, ticketed as a pedestrian for violating traffic signals, and told to find less dangerous ways to express himself.
It's almost ironical, but not really.


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