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Python in a Prius: stolen snake recovered after DUI crash

Tamira Paszek of Austria poses for a photo with a ball python
Tamira Paszek of Austria poses for a photo with a ball python
Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

The shock of having a Prius come crashing through their firehouse a little after 7on Monday night was bad enough for New Hyde Park, NY fire Chief Steven Waldron and company. What was even more stunning was the fact the car’s 22-year old driver, had a 2-footlong ball python wrapped around her neck at the time.

According to Nassau County police, the driver, identified as Sarah Espinosa (last known address Albany, NY) had stolen the brown and black snake from a the Petco shop in Garden City Park. She then drove west on Jericho Tpke. while intoxicated, crossed over the center meridian and hit two signs and another car before slamming into the front door of the firehouse.
According to Waldron, she was only semi-conscious when they pulled her from the wreck and transported her to Winthrop-University Medical Center in Mineola, where she was treated for minor injuries. There was no word on the condition of the python.

In addition to DUI charges, Espinosa was arrested for larceny, reckless endangerment, reckless drivingand unlawful possession of marijuana. In addition her driver’s license was suspended. Judge Scott H. Stiller also remanded her to be held on $5,000 bail pending another court appearance tomorrow.

Ball pythons are non-venous snakes native to west African countries including Uganda, Sudan and Southern Sudan, Sierra Leone, Togo, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Cameroon, Gambia, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Central African Republic, Ghana, Benin, Niger, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mali.
Although popular as pets for their relatively small size 5-7 foot long) compared to other pythons, as well as their rather docile temperament. When properly housed in a clean (minimum) 40 gallon tank) and fed, these snakes have been known to live for 40-years or more. In fact, the oldest living pet ball python on record was said to be over 48- years old.


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