A person who fails after making an honest-to-goodness attempt at suicide is a double loser—first because they tried killing themselves, and second because they couldn’t even get that right.
Taking it one giant deadly notch further are those who not only botch their act of self-termination, they inadvertently kill those around them in the course of their attempt. Here’s a dozen of such Triple Crown Losers. (Protip: If you want to kill yourself but spare others, avoid driving into oncoming traffic.)
1. Charles Edward Ballard
Death surrounded “Chad” Ballard, although he couldn’t get his own death quite right. His father, an Indiana casino owner, was shot to death by a business partner in 1936. The younger Ballard suffered a stroke in 1979, and with his health failing, he attempted shooting himself to death in 1982 but accidentally shot his wife instead. Pretty sad, Chad. He received a five-year suspended sentence for reckless homicide and a court order to write a book about his family. The Ballards in Indiana was published in 1984. Three years later, Charles Edward Ballard finally died successfully.
2. David Mark Buot
This chubby, balding, flat-nosed, brown-skinned, glum-faced man allegedly “had serious anger management issues” and repeatedly told his wife he was going to kill himself by purposely driving into traffic. One day in 2010, he crossed over a roadway center line in Phoenix, AZ, and purposely smashed into the Mercedes of 49-year-old Christine Anderson, who was on her way to play an innocent round of tennis. Buot was found guilty of vehicular homicide and received a 22-year-sentence.
3. Robert Lee-Allen Caldwell
The straight-razor tattoo on his throat was likely a very good clue that this Michigan resident would one day attempt to snuff himself. In November of last year, he guzzled some booze and placed a .45-caliber pistol to his head. But when he pulled the trigger, he flinched, and the bullet wound up killing his girlfriend. He pleaded guilty to several charges including involuntary manslaughter and in early 2014 was sentenced to a potential 19 years in prison.
4. Robert Dellinger
This case has not been legally resolved, so this is all alleged: On December 7 2013 after arguing with his wife about his antidepressant use and a physician-imposed bedtime curfew, the 53-year-old former executive at a Fortune 500 company jumped into his pickup truck. According to a prosecutor, “He was driving around, depressed and loopy” when he deliberately crossed an Interstate median at high speed, flew into the air, and ripped the roof off another car, killing a woman who was eight months pregnant and her husband. He was indicted in 2014 on two counts of attempted murder.
5. Khun Jalaepat
In the summer of 2012 after allegedly becoming jealous about his girlfriend flirting with other men on Facebook, the 19-year-old got “heavily intoxicated” and jumped into the Gulf of Thailand with the intent to drown himself. He survived, but four friends who tried rescuing him all drowned to death.
6. John Justice
Immediately after murdering his parents and brother in 1985, the double-chinned Stephen King lookalike from New York jumped into his car and attempted to kill himself by smashing into another car. Instead, he killed the other car’s driver. Somehow the law found him not guilty by reason of insanity for killing his brother and father, yet fully sane for killing his mother and the driver. He is due to be released next year.
7. Jai Bhagwan Malik
Despondent over health issues, the retired policeman from Delhi, India, penned a suicide note before attempting to shoot himself. His daughter tried to intervene, and as they struggled, he accidentally shot her in the chest, killing her. He then shot himself but survived. He was charged with both murder and attempted suicide, the latter of which is illegal in India.
8. Gary Nelson
One night in April 2013 after allegedly telling friends that he intended to kill himself—he reportedly “contemplated suicide to the extent of leaving funeral instructions and good-byes”—the buzz-cut 22-year-old soldier from Fort Riley, KS, got involved in a high-speed police chase that wound up with him purposely driving at 100MPH into oncoming traffic on Interstate 70. A 53-year-old man driving with two passengers in an SUV swerved out of Nelson’s way but went off the road and flipped over “multiple times” down an embankment, killing one of the passengers. Nelson pleaded no contest to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 9 years and 9 months in prison.
9. Duane Dalles Schlender
An Oregon transient who had previously attempted killing himself, the 23-year-old Schlender purposely drove into a pizza parlor that he apparently thought was uninhabited one night in 2002, accidentally killing a janitor who was tidying up inside. At his sentencing, he told a judge, “I did all this because I’ve got nothing. My whole life has been nothing. I never knew a loving family. I’m never going to stop feeling this way. I am sorry he is dead. I wish I was dead.” At the same hearing, his victim’s son told him, “Just think before you do stuff. That’s all I ask.” Pardon me for noticing, but it may have been a wee bit too late to ask him that.
10. Robin Siefker
At 12:40 AM on Thanksgiving in 2002 after arguing with his wife the day before and allegedly calling to tell her that he “wanted her to know what dying feels like,” the 35-year-old resident of Lincoln, NE, left a will and a suicide note with a friend, swallowed some Paxil and Wellbutrin, guzzled some tequila, and purposely drove his pickup truck on the wrong side of Interstate 80, creaming 19-year-old Heather Poppe. “If he wanted to kill himself, why didn’t he go out and drive into a telephone pole, drink a bottle of Drano?” asked the victim’s mother, who eventually won a settlement from Siefker in a wrongful death suit. “I don’t feel sorry for this guy at all.”
11. Jeanette Sliwinski
A foxy blonde fashion model, Sliwinski argued with her mother in July of 2005 before stomping out of the house and rocketing at 90MPH down a street in Skokie, IL, running three red lights in an attempt to kill herself. At an intersection, she slammed into a car containing three musicians, killing them all. She was arrested in her hospital room after the crash and was eventually convicted of reckless homicide. She spent approximately 28 months in jail awaiting trial and less than a year in prison before being released.
12. Justine Winter
One night in March 2009, the 16-year-old from Montana broke up with her boyfriend and then sent him “a series of ominous text messages” that included “If I won, I would have you. And I wouldn’t crash my car” and “That’s why I’m going to wreck my car. Because all I can do is fuck up.” She slammed head-on into another car on a highway at 86MPH, killing a pregnant woman and her 13-year-old son. Then she sued the estate of the woman she killed for the woman’s alleged “negligent driving,” which is an asshole move whatever way you slice it. She eventually received a 15-year-sentence for two counts of deliberate homicide.