Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Man Gets 15 Years for Ramming Cars While Fleeing Zombies

Call it a case of mistaken identity. Shaun Michael Stroud, from Kiln, Mississippi, thought that zombies were chasing him and that the apocalypse was upon him. So he hijacked a front-end loader from a local recycling center and smashed into at least four cars in a Walmart parking lot. Two of those cars had people inside. Mr. Stroud's wild ride finally came to an end when he ran into a palm tree, and the front-end loader blew a tire. As it turns out, Stroud was on drugs. Shocker. He pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, grand larceny, and malicious mischief, and was sentenced to fifteen years in jail.

Tip #7: Never Get Stuck With a Gas Guzzler

According to the Green Light Anti-Zombie Squad, a group dedicated to protecting you from zombie attacks, hijacking a front-end loader and smashing it into cars is not one of the top 10 practical tips on surviving the zombie apocalypse. In fact, tip #7 is to never get stuck with a gas guzzler. We are not sure exactly how many miles to the gallon that front-end loader got, but it is presumably low, and we can all visualize that moment in a zombie movie where the getaway car runs out of gas and the zombies attack the victim by crashing through the vehicle's windows.

Stroud Might Have Had a Defense If It Had Been the Zombie Apocalypse

But what if Stroud has been right? What is the status of local law when caught in the midst of a zombie apocalypse? Criminal defense lawyers can apply the defense of necessity when someone commits a criminal act during an emergency situation, like the zombie apocalypse, in order to prevent a greater harm from happening, like being eaten alive. Though murder is almost never justified, stealing a front-end loader might be, since it probably wasn't anyone else's zombie getaway car, and therefore his grand larceny and malicious mischief charges probably would have been dismissed. 

As for aggravated assault, that might be a toss-up. Though there is no clear body of apocalyptic law, if The Walking Dead is any example, it appears when the zombies come, it will be every person for themselves. But as for Stroud, his belief that the zombie apocalypse was upon him was unreasonable, presumably brought on by his own drug use, and therefore that defense was a little out of reach.

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