At a city council meeting in October, Chicago Alderman Howard Brookins Jr. gave a heated speech about "aggressive squirrels" chewing through garbage bins at a big expense to the city, reported the Chicago Sun-Times—and perhaps the animals caught wind of it. On Nov. 13, Brookins was riding his bicycle on the suburban Cal-Sag Trail when what the Chicago Tribune describes as a "kamikaze squirrel" jumped into his wheel and proceeded to get stuck in the spokes, causing Brookins to catapult over the handlebars. The squirrel died in the bizarre accident, and Brookins didn't get off unscathed: He suffered a fractured skull and broken nose and lost multiple teeth. He now faces a months-long recovery and multiple surgeries.
"I only saw the squirrel when I came to and saw it stuck in the wheel," says Brookins, who posted an image of his bike—squirrel still in the wheel—on Facebook with a message noting he won't be able to attend any official events in the near term. But they say laughter is the best medicine: "I can think of no other reason for this squirrel's actions than that it was like a suicide bomber, getting revenge," quips Brookins. "I could have broken my neck." He jokes he'll call animal control if any squirrels come near his house in the next few weeks. "Just a warning, the rabbits in this city are getting ornery too," notes a well-wisher on Brookins' Facebook page. (One nutty squirrel caused $300,000 in damage.)