Distracted driving in Pennsylvania: Snake in a car

cartoon snakeAre cell phones a distraction when you’re driving down the Interstate? How about having your passenger bitten by a snake?

According to the Altoona (Pa.) Mirror, that’s what happened to Amber Thalhouser. She and her passenger, Donald Forshey, were returning from a yard sale where they had purchased a “weed trimmer and a milk crate full of items.” Apparently one of those items was a snake that the pair discovered only when it slithered up and nipped Forshay on the leg.

Thalhouser and Forshey described the snake as a brownish-colored snake about 2 feet long and 1 inches thick. According to Pennsylvania State Trooper David Nazaruk, the snake was either a (we say huge) “garter snake or maybe a copperhead.”.

Trooper Nazaruk told the Mirror that Forshey used a crutch – he’d recently had an operation – to try to pin the snake to the floor as Thalhouser pulled to the shoulder of Interstate 99 where both exited the car.

The emergency response crew took the car apart looking for the snake, but didn’t find it.

At least Forshey had the snakebite to prove he and Thalhouser weren’t hallucinating.

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John is a veteran auto writer, first published in Custom Rodder magazine in 1980. Since then, he has been published in all the big car magazines, including Car and Driver, Road & Track, Motor Trend, Auto Week, Automobile, plus a variety of others, including but certainly not limited to Automobile Quarterly, Collectible Automobile, and Special Interest Automobiles. John’s work has also been featured in a number of consumer and general interest magazines such as Consumers Digest, Popular Science and others. John has written four books, including a history of the Mazda RX-7 (selling for more out-of-print than it did new), buyers’ guides for Mazda, Datsun/Nissan and Volvo cars, and is co-author of 365 Cars You Must Drive with Motor Trend editor Matt Stone, and his work has been translated into Italian, Estonian, Portuguese, Russian, and Bulgarian. John is recipient of the prestigious Ken Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism, awarded by the International Motor Press Association, and the Golden Quill from the Washington Automotive Press Association. John has three adult daughters and has been married for more that four decades to Mary Ann, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.

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