Throwback Thursday: Woman attacked with frozen turkey, and 5 more holiday crimes


From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, the police blotters are almost as full as the stores. And all is not merry and bright for victims of holiday crimes or tragedies, such as those highlighted in this list of freak accidents, tragic mishaps and deliberately hateful offenses.


Parade panic 

shutterstock_66072715On a windy Thanksgiving Day in 1997, Kathleen Caronna was standing on a New York City street corner watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade when a Cat in the Hat balloon went out of control, careening into a metal lamppost. Just moments after Caronna had handed her infant son to her husband, pieces of the lamppost struck her in the head, severely injuring her. For a month Caronna lay in a coma. She eventually sued New York City for $395 million but settled for an undisclosed amount in 2001. 

Frozen missile 

Turkey WindshieldIn November 2004, Victoria Ruvolo was driving her car when a frozen turkey suddenly smashed through her windshield. Ruvolo broke nearly every bone in her face, was in a medically induced coma for a month, and now has three titanium plates in her face.

Five teenagers who bought the 20-pound turkey with a stolen credit card were arrested. Ryan Cushing, who hurled the turkey out the moving car he was riding in, was charged with first-degree assault, reckless endangerment, forgery, criminal mischief and criminal possession of stolen property. Thanks to Ruvolo’s insistence on a lenient sentence, Cushing was given six months in jail and five years’ probation. “God gave me a second chance at life,” Ruvolo told The New York Times, “and I passed it on.”


Subway assault 

Q TrainIn December 2007, three Jewish friends who wished fellow passengers on New York City’s Q train “Happy Hanukkah” were attacked by an unruly gang of 10 passengers. Two of the attackers had prior bias crime arrests on their records, and, according to CNN, another allegedly shouted, “Oh, Hanukkah. That’s the day that the Jews killed Jesus.”

A Muslim student from Bangladesh came to the friends’ aid, and the assailants physically and verbally assaulted him as well. One of the victims pulled the train’s emergency signal and police boarded at the next station. Police arrested the 10 assailants and charged them with assault, attempted assault, harassment and disorderly conduct. The three friends were treated for cuts, bruises, and a broken nose.


Holiday heartbreak 

shutterstock_66670864When Madonna Badger and her contractor boyfriend Michael Borcina went to bed about 3 a.m. Christmas morning in 2011, all seemed well. They had just finished wrapping presents and had cleaned out a hearth, leaving the bagged ashes in a mudroom. Borcina even ran his hand through the ashes to make sure none were smoldering. By 4:52 a.m., however, Badger’s Stamford, Connecticut, Victorian home, which had been under extensive renovation, was ablaze. Her three young daughters and her parents tragically died in the blaze. Badger and Borcina escaped.

Although an investigation found that fireplace embers started the blaze, in July 2012 Badger’s ex-husband filed a wrongful death suit against the city of Stamford and named Borcina, as well as the home’s architect and electrician, as defendants. According to the suit, “The home had become a firetrap as a result of months of substandard construction leading up to the fire.”

Badger has also sued Stamford, saying the town rushed to raze her burnt home to cover up its shoddy building-permit process and sell salvageable materials like copper. 


shutterstock_9272182Score one for inclusiveness 

In a battle between Jersey City, New Jersey, and the American Civil Liberties Union that waged on for years, an appeals court ruled that the city could continue its decades-long tradition of erecting a menorah and nativity scene outside City Hall, as long as other holiday decorations were added, including Kwanzaa ribbons. 

New Year’s Eve

Drop not stopped 

Possom Drop
Photo via Huffington Post

Brasstown, North Carolina, has a rather unusual New Year’s Eve tradition: Instead of counting down to the drop of a ball a la Times Square, the town drops a live opossum in a box. Animal rights activists sued to stop the drop, alleging that the crowds, fireworks and capture of the animal were likely to cause it deadly stress.

In 2013, however, a superior court judge ruled that the drop did not violate state animal cruelty laws and could take place as long as the opossum was kept in a clean, well-ventilated cage, fed a natural diet, evaluated by a licensed vet and set free after the event.

Photo credits: Shutterstock

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