January 3, 2009 in Nation/World

Some heel fouls freeway with shoes

By Jose Pagliery McClatchy
Associated Press photo

Thousands of shoes were dumped on the Palmetto Expressway, causing significant traffic delays in Miami on Friday.
(Full-size photo)

MIAMI – Flying shoes are back in the news.

This time, the story is about thousands of used shoes that mysteriously ended up on a Miami freeway early Friday morning.

The culprit: The Florida Highway Patrol wants to know.

Police said thousands of work boots, bath slippers, tennis sneakers, beach sandals, even pairs of roller blades, all inexplicably materialized shortly before 8 a.m. on the Palmetto Expressway, disrupting traffic for hours.

A private contractor had to be hired to pick up the sea of soles and deposit them at an empty field.

Nashville, Tenn.-based nonprofit Soles4Souls, which has distributed about 3.9 million pairs of shoes around the world in the past four years, is planning to pick them up on Monday.

News of the discarded shoes in Miami traveled fast over the Internet as Web sites all over the world got wind of the story.

Some people e-mailed the Miami Herald with what they believe was the most obvious explanation: It was a protest against President Bush, a reference to his recent shoe-dodging experience in Iraq.

The mystery, however, remains.

FHP spokesman Lt. Pat Santangelo said no witnesses had come forward, but that those responsible would be charged to clean up the mess.

“It’s not cheap,” he assured.

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