When a person dies and their estate is settled, any remaining debt dies with them, including student loans. But there’s an exception: if a parent or other responsible grown-up co-signs a loan and the borrower dies a tragic young death, that co-signer is on the hook for the entire amount of the loan. That’s how co-signing works, after all. But after a Rutgers student died in 2006 after two years in a coma, most of his lenders (credit cards and student loans) deferred, then forgave his debts. Key Bank was the holdout, since the student’s father had co-signed his college loans at Key. Since 2006, the family has paid $20,000 of the $50,000 balance. It took an awful lot of negative publicity, but Key says that they will forgive the debt, and might not even put future families in the same terrible situation. [More]
We enjoy mocking Banzai and their tendency to put wildly inaccurate photographs of their products on the boxes. But another wild inaccuracy led to tragedy in Massachusetts in 2006, when a 29-year-old mother went headfirst down an inflatable waterslide that collapsed. She broke her neck and later died as a result of the injuries. The jury deliberated for less than an hour before awarding her survivors $20.6 million–and they weren’t even allowed to hear about the other person allegedly paralyzed by a similar injury while using the same product. [More]
If you’ve been sitting in the same position for hours at your computer, stand up now and stretch or do some jumping jacks: A 20-year-old man addicted to gaming has unfortunately been killed by that same dedication to Xbox, falling victim to a pulmonary embolism after sitting for hours playing online games. [More]
Last year, Wells Fargo foreclosed on and auctioned off a modest townhouse on Cape Canaveral in Florida. The owner hadn’t made any mortgage payments or used any electricity in over a year, and neighbors didn’t recall seeing her. Her possessions and car were still in the house. Did she walk away from her mortgage and leave town entirely? Not quite. The house’s new owner found something Wells Fargo’s inspectors and property managers had missed when they inventoried the contents of the house and garage: the homeowner’s mummified remains in the front passenger seat of her car. Her cause of death remains unknown. [More]
Icebreakers gum may be a great way to “break the ice,” but you wouldn’t want to use them to help your dog freshen his breath. Many pet owners aren’t aware that the artificial sweetener inside it and many other products, Xylitol, can be acutely toxic to dogs if the canines eat it. KCBS has the tragic story of one corgi who suffered acute liver failure after he got into a bag of Icebreakers. [More]
A California woman was crushed to death yesterday by her own car while trying to save it from repossession. Authorities still aren’t quite sure how the accident happened, but the 41-year-old was standing between her car and the tow truck, and was somehow pulled under her vehicle and dragged 40 feet. She died of internal bleeding later that night at a local hospital. [More]
Snickers, an eleven-week-old hairless kitten, flew from from a breeder in Utah to her new home in Connecticut in the supposedly climate-controlled cargo hold of a Delta Airlines plane. Her new family paid the airline $70 extra so she would be removed immediately. Instead, she sat under the plane for about 50 minutes, on a 10 degree Fahrenheit evening. When she finally met her family, she showed symptoms of severe hypothermia. They tried to warm her up and rushed to a vet, but it was too late. [More]
Reuters says police are investigating the possibility that the body of a 16-year-old North Carolina high school student fell from a plane approaching Logan Airport. So far, they have been unable to explain why the boy, who ran away from home, would have been found dead in Milton, MA. [More]
An August plane crash in the Democratic Republic of Congo was blamed on a balance in the small aircraft. But what caused that loss of balance? According to the flight’s only survivor, the passengers were running away from a stowaway on the flight: a live crocodile. [More]
Very early Saturday morning, a double-decker Megabus lost on its way to the bus station crashed into a low railroad overpass (pictured) outside of Syracuse, NY. Four passengers were killed, and twenty people injured, including the driver. Now, the public has learned that the driver was looking at his personal GPS unit at the time of the accident–which Megabus drivers are not permitted to use while driving for work. [More]
Is Foxconn, the huge electronics company that manufactures for global brands such as HP, Dell, and Apple (yes, they make the iPad and iPhone) a towering fortress of secrecy where employees cower in fear, ten people to a dorm room, or a normal manufacturing outfit that has had a weird cluster of employee suicides recently? [More]
The Chicago Tribune reports that a man walked into the Old Navy store at State and Washington in Chicago’s Loop and shot his girlfriend before turning the gun on himself, sending panicked shoppers flooding out of the store. [More]
A Pennsylvania man died last Friday in a freak fire at a gas station. Authorities say that the fire was sparked by static electricity on the man’s body, and he died of inhalation of superheated gases. While this type of fire is very rare and fatalities even rarer, they do happen. To prevent them, you should do something terribly mundane: do not ever get back in your car while fueling, and make sure to touch a metal surface before fueling. [More]
This summer a woman in an SUV drove almost two miles down the wrong way of an expressway before killing eight people in a horrible crash. The autopsy suggests she was drunk and high at the time, but her family says that isn’t possible and to prove it, they say she was sober enough to convince McDonald’s to make her son an order of Chicken Selects in the morning, right before the accident.
Since you all were so fond of the photoshop horror that was that one Ralph Lauren ad, we bring you the latest tragedy from BoingBoing. Demi Moore is on the cover of W this month. Well, most of her is.
“Consumers Urged to Stop Use of Flammable Wearing Apparel,” says the warning on the Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site. You would think so, wouldn’t you? But Blair, the catalog where your grandmother probably gets all of her clothes, has expanded their recall of chenille sleepwear after nine deaths and another reported chenille fire.
Chinese state media says that a woman accused of shoplifting was allegedly beaten to death by 2 employees of a Walmart in eastern China. A police report says that the employees stopped the woman on the street near her home (which is also near the Walmart) and demanded to see her receipt. One report says she refused because she was unsure of the employee’s identities, another says she handed it over, then took it back.