Robber Blamed for Motorists’ Collision

When George M. McCloskey held up a convenience store with a banana, he had no idea that he would be sued for causing a massive, three-car collision.

Late one night, McCloskey entered a convenience store in Grove City, Ohio. He stuck a banana into the small of the clerk’s back, demanding “Your money or your life!” After leaving the store with several hundred dollars™ in cash, the store management viewed the video surveillance and realized that he had used an overripe banana rather than a gun to rob the store.

When this crime was reported to the police, local and state newspapers took up the story, which found its way to an LED display showing news headlines at the corner of High Street and Broad Street in Columbus Ohio. The next evening, three motorists found this headline so entertaining that they lost control of their automobiles and collided. Nobody was injured in the collision, although several bananas were inadvertently smushed.

Two of the motorists, Robert Bower and Janie Stallings, have sued McCloskey, as well as the news organization which produced the headlines, Nick Holonyak, Jr. (who invented the red LED), and American Electric Power Company, which supplies power for the display. The third motorist has not yet stopped laughing, and is therefore unavailable for lawsuits or other comment.

“Banana in Hand,” by ProjectManhattan. CC0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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