The week kicks off with screeching tires, crunching metal, and the wail of distant sirens as today Seattle played host to a pair of horrible car crashes. Crash #1 occurred around 11:30 this morning at the intersection of Fifth and Battery beneath the monorail, where a Toyota Camry allegedly ran a red light to plow into a Jeep heading east on Battery. The impact sent the Jeep onto the sidewalk and into two men, one of whom was killed. According to the Seattle Times, 44-year-old Paul Fraser was an Australian-born TV executive who produced international versions of such hits as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and The Weakest Link, and was vacationing in Seattle with friend and fellow TV exec Richard Sattler at the time of his tragically random death. Forty-five-year-old Sattler, the second man hit by the Jeep, escaped with minor injuries, but Fraser was pronounced dead at the scene, from what the King County Medical Examiner's Office identified as "a crushing, blunt-force injury." Charges are pending against the driver of the Camry, whose minor traffic infraction turned an unlucky Jeep into an unwitting agent of death. Crash #2 took place just before midnight, on southbound I-5 near the Thurston-Lewis county line, where a 21-year-old in a speeding Ford Probe rear-ended a northbound Camry, bounced over the median strip into the southbound lanes, and crashed into another Camry, this one driven by Jessica Ketzenberg, an 18-year-old Kent woman who was killed at the scene. Also killed was the driver of the Probe, 21-year-old Tashina Bumgarner, but surviving to witness the whole collision in his rearview mirror was Timothy Ketzenberg, Jessica's 45-year-old father, who swerved from the path of Tashina Bumgarner's rampaging Probe only to see Bumgarner plow into the car driven by his daughter Jessica. Making everything so much worse, the Ketzenbergs were just driving home from a Tacoma-area car dealership, where Timothy had bought Jessica a red 1992 Camry for her 18th birthday. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Washington State Patrol troopers found open beer bottles and a boozy smell inside Tashina Bumgarner's demolished car/deathbed, and believe the 21-year-old Oakville woman "had been drinking."


Speaking of deadly drivers: Today Arizona authorities charged Phoenix Bishop Thomas O'Brien, 67, with leaving the scene of a fatal hit-and-run that left one pedestrian dead. According to Associated Press reports, police were led to Bishop O'Brien after tracing a license plate number to the bishop's car, which police soon discovered to have a caved-in windshield. During the investigation, O'Brien told police he didn't report the accident because he thought he had hit a dog or a cat. As it turns out, O'Brien had hit Jim Reed, a six-foot, 235-pound "dog or cat" pronounced dead at the scene. If convicted of today's charge, O'Brien faces anything from probation to four years in prison. (And if continued investigation reveals that the wine-friendly bishop was "impaired" at the time of the accident, O'Brien could face a charge of manslaughter.)

·· Also today: Clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has been slapped with a federal lawsuit, charging the "casual classic American" clothier and homosexual-uniform producer with racial discrimination. According to the lawsuit--filed yesterday by nine Hispanic and Asian plaintiffs and reported today by the Associated Press--A&F routinely hires a disproportionately white sales staff, places minorities in less visible jobs (stocking back rooms, working overnight), and cultivates a virtually all-white image in its ads and catalogs. A&F officials have expressed dismay over the charges, praising their company for "priding itself on diversity" and rejecting claims of racial discrimination. Still, considering last spring--when A&F came under fire for its infamous Wong Brothers Laundry Service T-shirts ("Two Wongs Can Make It White")--if A&F isn't harboring some nefarious racial agenda, it's the most culturally tone-deaf American institution this side of the Grammys.


Speaking of nefarious agendas: For years, magazines have made a standard practice of airbrushing perceived imperfections from the faces and bodies of cover models. But earlier this week, Hearst issued an apology to Julia Roberts, admitting they "may have gone too far" in constructing a mix-'n'-match composite photo of the megawatt star for the cover of July's Redbook. According to USA Today, Redbook's cover photo placed a shot of Roberts' head, taken by paparazzi at the 2002 People's Choice Awards, on top of a shot of her body, taken at the Notting Hill movie premiere four years earlier. Even more hilariously, Redbook adorned Roberts' Frankenstein photo with the headline "The Real Julia."


Nothing happened today (unless you count the Hot Tip from Tiffany, a young woman accosted this afternoon at a downtown bus stop by the perpetually wounded blood-and-tissue vandal indelicately known as the Human Scab, who allegedly approached our young Tipstress, doffed his grimy baseball cap to expose his festering head sores, and pitched a heartbreaking bit of woo. "He told me he thought he could beat skin cancer if only he had a beautiful woman like me to go home to," reports Tiffany, identifying the comment as "the most heartrending pickup line I've ever received." Last Days thanks Tiffany for writing, and wonders if the unfortunately wounded man is now actively auditioning for this column).


As Joni cooed in the voice of a wine-soaked songbird, "Love is touching souls." Today brought news of a unique collision of love-hungry spirits in New Delhi, India, where a nine-year-old girl was married to a stray dog in a ceremony attended by more than 100 guests in a Bengal village, as part of a ritual intended to break an evil spell. The Associated Press reports that the saga was set in motion after the girl's parents found that a tooth had grown on their daughter's upper gum--a bad omen to be warded off by the immediate marriage of the young girl. Unable to afford the expense of marrying his daughter to a boy, the girl's father saved money by making a street dog the groom. Despite iffy appearances, the interspecies marriage won't sully the life or honor of the child bride, who suffers no stigma and is free to remarry later.

··Also today: While performing live on this morning's Today show, Lisa Marie Presley did the single greatest thing a human can do: fall down. Tragically, Last Days missed the live broadcast and has been unable to find footage of the fall on the good-for-nothing Internet. However, eyewitnesses tell us the fall was complete ("She went down," reports Mindy), and that the trippy Ms. Presley recovered with impressive grace and speed.


Nothing happened today (unless you count the Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade, or Hot Tipper Gary's report of watching "a rather normal-looking, averagely dressed man" stand on a U-District sidewalk and projectile-vomit five bursts of red Slurpee).


Nothing happened today.

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