Sometimes, pranksters don’t have the last laugh. A practical joke that seems like a harmless lark can quickly turn deadly. Seemingly innocent things such as ringing a doorbell and running away or egging a car can have dire consequences.
Here are six cases of pranks going horrifically wrong.
In 2011, 18-year-old Derek Greenlee and 19-year-old Seth Stonerock thought it would be amusing to camouflage a stop sign by covering it with Vaseline-coated saran wrap.
Later, the joke took a nasty turn. Jeanne Shea, 80, blew through the intersection and collided with an oncoming car. Her passenger, 85-year-old Mary Spangler, instantly died. Shea died three weeks later.
Greenlee and Stonerock were charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Last year in Corona, California, six friends dared 16-year-old Mark Drewes to play a game called “ding, dong, ditch.” This is a practical joke where the prankster rings someone’s doorbell and runs away. It was silly and harmless, until now.
Drewes rang Anurag Chandra’s doorbell. Then the boys jumped in their car and fled when an enraged Chandra sped after them in his vehicle. Chandra intentionally plowed into the back of their vehicle, sending it crashing into a tree.
Three of the boys were killed, while the other three were injured but survived. Chandra was charged with three counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder.
Usually, a wedgie simply causes embarrassment and discomfort. However, when Brad Lee Davis, 33, and his stepfather, David St. Clair, 58, got into an argument, it was lethal. Davis yanked St. Clair’s underwear so high that the elastic waistband went over his neck and strangled him.
Davis was sentenced to 30 years in prison for first-degree manslaughter.
Egging can cause a mess, but for 15-year-old Adrian Broadway, it turned into a mess of a different kind. For cheap thrills, she and a group of friends egged, toilet-papered, and smeared mayonnaise on a car.
As they drove away, the vehicle’s owner, Willie Nobel, came barreling out of his house, firing his gun into their car.
Broadway died from a shot to the head, and Nobel was accused of committing a terrorist act, first-degree murder, and five counts of aggravated assault. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
In 2003, 16-year-old Jordan Morlan decided it would be fun to terrify his little sister by pretending to hang himself. The prank, however, took a deadly turn. Morlan really did hang himself, succumbing to asphyxiation in only seconds.
A noose is nothing to play with. Prank hangings that end in death are unfortunately common and have included:
• Eleven-year-old Aundreis Bass accidentally died when trying to imitate a how-to YouTube video.
• Danny Munroe, 26, was a serial prankster whose practical jokes included using ketchup to mimic a stab wound. His fake hanging, though, was no laughing matter when it turned real.
• Fourteen-year-old Diamond Garate tried to mimic the hanging death of Korean pop star, Sulli. Her noose tightened, and she died from massive brain damage.
In 2012, Randy Tenley donned a ghillie Bigfoot costume, stood by the side of the road, and tried scaring passing motorists.
He was so convincing that he freaked out two teenagers who ran over him and killed him.
At Pacific West Injury Law, we know it can be devastating to have a fun prank suddenly turn deadly. If you were severely injured or a loved one lost their life due to somebody else’s negligence or foul play, know that we’re an award-winning firm, and we’ll fight to get the best possible outcomes when seeking compensation for your injuries, lost income, physical pain, and emotional suffering.
Contact us today so that we can help get your life back on track. Because personal injury is personal.
By Leland D. Bengtson
As a journalist, Leland D. Bengtson dedicated most of his career to law reporting. He aims to draw in the public and make people more interested in the field. He is active on multiple platforms to increase his outreach to the public. Leland tirelessly covers all types of legal issues, but he has a personal preference for medical malpractice. This is mainly because he witnessed the implications of medical malpractice on a family member.