Show Mobile Navigation
Miscellaneous |

10 Common Activities That Turned into Tragic Freak Accidents

by Julie Henthorn
fact checked by Darci Heikkinen

No matter whether you are a stay-at-home parent or a full-time employee, it can be difficult to find that perfect work-life balance. Aside from “work,” common day-to-day tasks such as household chores, yard work, caring for pets, managing finances, and taking care of ourselves can quickly become overwhelming.

While they may seem tedious and mundane, these everyday tasks keep our homes, vehicles, and bodies in good working order. However, often, these errands become so commonplace that we typically perceive them to be far more dreadful than dangerous.

However, these stories prove that all it takes is a split second for either a mistake or a bizarre external factor to completely change the trajectory of our lives, even while doing something as simple as taking the dog for a walk, mowing the grass, or making a routine trip to the dentist.

Here are the stories of ten common activities and tasks that quickly turned into tragic freak accidents.

Related: Top 10 Freaky Car Accidents With No Survivors

10 Walking the Dog

Around 5 am on August 16, 2023, 34-year-old Madeline Kelly of Mendota, California, took her boyfriend’s dog out for a walk.

Unfortunately, there had been a small fire in the area on August 14. While the fire department extinguished the vegetation fire, the power company—Pacific Gas and Electric—was not alerted as the power lines did not appear to be affected by the fire. However, the fire had indeed weakened the power pole, and sometime between the Monday night fire and Kelly’s Wednesday morning walk, the line fell.

Without the aid of sunlight during Kelly’s early morning walk, she was unable to see the hazard and stepped on the live wires. Sadly, both Kelly and the dog were electrocuted. Kelly’s boyfriend later discovered the pair’s bodies.

Emergency responders attempted to revive Kelly, but after unsuccessful attempts, first responders pronounced both she and the dog dead.

A spokesperson for Pacific Gas and Electric later issued a statement that read, “We are working with first responders to investigate the circumstances of the tragic accident in Mendota this week. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been impacted.” An investigation is ongoing.[1]

9 Mowing the Grass

Snake fell from sky onto Texas woman, she’s then attacked by hawk

Sixty-four-year-old Peggy Jones and her husband, 66-year-old Wendell, planned to end the day of July 25, 2023, by mowing the lawn of their investment property in Silsbee, Texas, and then heading off to the casino together.

Given that the yard work was typically a three-hour job, Wendell got to work in the front of the property while Peggy set out on a riding mower in the back of the property. Then, “all of a sudden, out of the clear blue sky, a snake fell… and landed on Peggy’s arm.”

The four-foot (1.2-meter) snake clutched onto Peggy’s right arm and wouldn’t let go. The snake then began striking at her face, but thankfully, its venom landed on Peggy’s glasses rather than in her eyes. However, the more Peggy attempted to thrust her arm, the tighter the snake’s grip became. As if this situation wasn’t bad enough, Peggy had to continue to maintain control of the tractor, all while desperately screaming for help. Unfortunately, the sound of both tractors, along with traffic from the nearby highway, made it impossible for Wendell to hear her cries.

Just then, a brown and white hawk swooped down, creating a “tug-of-war of nature” as the hawk tried to grab the snake, who still refused to let go of Peggy’s arm. Despite the failed attempt at capturing the serpent, the hawk refused to give up on its prey. After swooping in four more times, the snake was finally released from Peggy’s arm, and the hawk flew away with it.

Thankfully, Peggy was eventually able to get her husband’s attention, but by this time, her arm was covered in blood, claw marks, lacerations, and punctures. Wendell rushed Peggy to the emergency room, where she was given antibiotics, her wounds were cleaned and bandaged, and her condition was stabilized.

The incident not only left Peggy with nightmares but also with the inability to use her arm. Fortunately, Wendell, along with the couple’s children and grandchildren, assisted Peggy with daily tasks and took extra precautions to keep her wounds wrapped and free from infection.[2]

8 Running on the Treadmill

WA: Woman dies in freak accident on treadmill; Leaves behind 4 children

On July 21, 2023, 36-year-old Delrie Rosario and her sister, Marissa Woods, went to a local LA Fitness Center in Kent, Washington, to run on the treadmill, something the sisters did nearly every day. Unfortunately, their typical exercise routine turned into a “bizarre accident.”

As Rosario attempted to slow the treadmill down, she stumbled and hit her head on the front of the machine, causing her to fall off and lose consciousness.

Woods stated she then began screaming for help in hopes of gaining the attention of someone who knew how to perform CPR. While other gym-goers came to her aid, Woods claimed none of the gym staff tried to assist her.

Rosario was rushed to a nearby hospital but, sadly, never regained consciousness.

Amid the family’s grief, they found peace in knowing that Rosario, who was known for having “the biggest heart,” would go on to save the lives of others. Her heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver were transplanted in order to save the lives of five people on organ donor waiting lists.[3]

7 Going to the ATM

Sixty-three-year-old Michael Diaczyszyn of Glenarm, North Ireland, was described as a “fun-loving big man with a good soul” who “saw the bright side of everything.” Unfortunately, his life was taken due to a freak accident at an ATM machine.

On February 22, 2017, Diaczyszyn went to withdraw money from a cash machine in Larne, North Ireland. However, while attempting to complete the transaction, a runaway empty Vauxhall Vivaro van rolled back down the street and hit him.

Diaczyszyn was taken to a local hospital for a broken leg but sadly died the following morning due to complications from surgery.[4]

6 Getting a Tooth Filled

Patient inhales 1-inch dental drill bit

On March 18, 2022, 60-year-old Tom Jozsi of Antioch, Illinois, went to the dentist’s office for a routine procedure. However, what should have been a normal trip to the dentist ended with a trip to the hospital and the need for intensive surgery.

As Jozsi was getting his tooth filled, he “felt a cough” coming on. Jozsi was then told that he had swallowed one of the dentist’s tools—a one-inch (2.5-cm) long drill bit.

Jozsi went to a local hospital, but X-rays were unable to show the location of the drill bit. A CT scan later revealed that the drill bit was located really far down on the right lower lobe of Jozsi’s lung rather than in his stomach. In light of this, doctors believed that prior to Jozsi’s coughing, he also inhaled, which caused the drill bit to go into his lungs.

Jozsi was transferred to a hospital in Kenosha, Wisconsin, but unfortunately, the drill bit was so deep in his lung that traditional scopes could not reach it. Jozsi was advised that part of his lung may have to be removed if the drill bit could not successfully be taken out.

Thankfully, Dr. Abdul Alraiyes and Dr. Hasnain Bawaadam were able to utilize robotic bronchoscopy—a procedure that uses a smaller and more flexible scope that can get into lung airways and detect lung cancer at its earliest stage. The doctors used this to navigate the narrow airways and reach the drill piece without damaging Jozsi’s lung.

Fortunately, the 90-minute procedure went “exactly as planned,” and Jozsi was able to go home the same day. Jozsi said the drill bit is now proudly displayed on a shelf at home.[5]

5 Changing a Flat Tire

Indiana State Police investigating after semi-wheel hits 15-year-old changing his tire on I-80

William Jason Lamont Bell Sr. of Chicago, Illinois, and his family were on a road trip to Kentucky. However, late in the morning of August 15, 2023, the vehicle they were traveling in got a flat tire along the interstate in Northwest Indiana.

When Bell Sr. left the vehicle to change the tire, his 15-year-old son, William Jason Lamont Bell Jr., followed and insisted on helping his father. Unfortunately, while the two were fixing the flat, a semi-truck traveling in the same direction experienced a mechanical failure. As it passed by, one of its rear wheels dislodged from the truck.

The loose wheel, with its tire still attached, rolled along the barrier wall before striking Bell Jr. and the four other individuals who were outside of the parked vehicle.

Police were dispatched to the scene, and Bell Jr. was quickly rushed to a local hospital. However, once his injuries were deemed life-threatening, Bell Jr. was transferred to a hospital in Chicago. Bell was placed on life support but died on August 18, 2023. The other four individuals received non-life-threatening injuries.

The semi-truck driver was sent to a local hospital for a mandatory toxicology test. Although drugs and alcohol were not believed to be a factor in the accident, the semi-trailer was impounded for inspection by state police.[6]

4 Doing Laundry

On the evening of September 21, 2008, 29-year-old Carl Thomas of Dixie County, Florida, went to do his laundry in an unattached shed near the home where he lived. However, when Thomas did not return to the house, witnesses said they went to look for him.

Unfortunately, they found Thomas on the floor next to a clothes dryer. Witnesses performed CPR until first responders arrived. Thomas was then transported to the Old Town Helipad but, sadly, pronounced dead shortly after his arrival.

An investigation into the electrical wiring of the shed revealed that the electrical system did not meet current standards. Therefore, when the dryer was plugged in, it would have become energized and had the potential to shock anyone who touched it.

An autopsy later revealed Thomas’ cause of death as “positional asphyxiation with the contributing cause of electrocution.” It was believed that in attempting to plug in the dryer, Thomas was shocked and then fell between the appliances, causing him to be unable to breathe.[7]

3 Going Through the Drive Thru

Man Crushed at Mcdonalds Drive Thru

In the early morning hours of September 8, 2021, a man, later identified as 42-year-old Anthony “Tony” Eyles, stopped to get breakfast from a local McDonald’s in Vancouver, Canada.

Eyles went to pay for his meal at 5:30 am but dropped his bank card onto the ground. Eyles then opened the car door to pick up the card, but unfortunately, “the vehicle rolled forward, colliding into a structural piece of the restaurant.” Eyles became pinned between the vehicle door and frame and was unable to free himself.

First responders arrived at the McDonald’s location and attempted to revive Eyles, but sadly, he died at the scene.[8]

2 Taking Out the Trash

In May of 2012, 66-year-old John Fozard of Anglesey, Wales, was emptying a garbage can in his house. However, as he was throwing the trash away, pieces of a broken wine glass tore through the bag and cut him, leaving a 1.5-inch (4-cm) wound on his thigh, just above the knee. Unfortunately, the glass severed his femoral artery—the main blood vessel supplying blood to the lower body.

Fozard attempted to stop the bleeding but later collapsed in his bathroom due to the loss of blood.

Fozard’s next-door neighbors, Gwyndaf Rowlands and his wife, became worried after hearing the sound of running water for hours but never seeing Fozard. It was then that Rowlands looked through a kitchen window and saw blood, so he contacted the police.

Paramedics arrived on the scene and broke into Fozard’s house in an attempt to provide medical care, but sadly, it was too late. Fozard bled to death.[9]

1 Putting Gas in Vehicle

Woman killed in fire at Palm Harbor gas station days before Christmas

On December 22, 2021, 46-year-old Sheryll Grace “Shoi” Delfin Caballes was pumping gasoline at a Circle K station in Palm Harbor, Florida. As Caballes proceeded to put gas into her 2018 Honda SUV, a 66-year-old woman backed her 2006 Nissan sedan into a gas pump.

The impact knocked the fuel dispenser from its base, causing the gas pump to overturn on Caballes. Caballes became pinned between the pump and her SUV, which then caught fire.

Two of Caballes’s children (ages 11 and 14), who were in the car at the time, were able to get out and attempted to save their mother. Thirty-four-year-old Jared Pierson, a homeless Good Samaritan, also attempted to help by using the fire extinguisher beside the pumps and getting the children to safety. Unfortunately, the flames were too much, and Caballes burned to death.

In August of 2022, the Caballes family went on to file a lawsuit against 13 defendants, which included Circle K Stores, Inc. and Shell Oil Company, since the device designated to stop fuel flow if a gas pump is damaged or struck by a vehicle was not working, and additionally because the Circle K employee failed to trigger the emergency stop switch.[10]

fact checked by Darci Heikkinen