Sunday, May 4, 2008

You Know, Come to Think of it, No One Has Seen Squid for a While

A Reading man climbed atop a moving minivan Friday on the West Shore Bypass, stood on the roof and rode the vehicle until it crashed and catapulted him into the woods, West Reading police reported.

Witnesses told police that the man then climbed up an embankment, stripped naked and ran several hundred yards down the busy highway bleeding from a foot-long gash in his side.

"I’ve never seen anything like this in 22 years," West Reading police Detective Joseph M. Brown said of the 3 p.m. incident. "It is not a common call we get as police."

Police responding to calls from frantic motorists used three separate jolts from a Taser and pepper spray to subdue the nude man.

The Taser had no effect, and police eventually tackled the 38-year-old from Reading, Brown said.

He was taken to Reading Hospital, police said. The hospital listed him in critical condition Friday night.

The Reading Eagle is withholding the man’s name because he has not been charged.

Brown said the investigation continues and police are awaiting the results of toxicology tests.

The bizarre scene unfolded as witnesses reported seeing a minivan going about 55 mph and swerving in the westbound lanes of the bypass near the Penn Avenue interchange.

A witness, Les Miller of West Lawn, was driving west when he saw the minivan crash into the guide rail between Penn Avenue and North Wyomissing Boulevard.

Miller said he saw clothes on the highway shoulder and a naked man with a long cut on his torso running toward him.

"He was waving his arms in the air like he was lost or he was on something," Miller said. "It wasn’t like a panicked look on his face; he was just in a daze."

Miller saw police approaching, so he didn’t stop.

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