WASHINGTON — An Australian worker driving home had the scare of the year when he was traveling down a road and suddenly noticed he had a slithery passenger in the cab of his truck.
A police officer in the northeastern state of Queensland captured it all on video with a body-camera, which was taken in June during the traffic stop, but just released Tuesday.
The central Queensland officer found a visibly shaken man when he approached the vehicle. The man said he had "never been so happy" to be pulled over by the police, Australia's 9 News reported.
The man, only identified as "Jimmy," was going down a highway at around 5 p.m. local time last month when he felt something move between his legs.
Jimmy told police that he was "driving along at 100 kph (the equivalent of about 62 mph), and I just started to brake," he said. "The more I moved my legs … 'cause it's pretty big, it just started to wrap around me. Its head just started striking at the (driver's seat) chair, between my legs."
The man managed to use a seat belt and a knife he uses for work to fight off the snake, which he ended up having to kill to protect himself. Police and the dispatcher in the video identified the reptile as a brown snake. The eastern brown snake is highly venomous and is the cause of the majority of snakebite deaths in Australia. Under Australian law, snakes are actually protected in Queensland.
"It was pretty bloody terrifying, I've never been so happy to see red and blue lights," the man said.
Jimmy feared he had been bitten during the fight, and started to speed toward the hospital fearing his life was in danger, when police pulled him over.
Queensland Police said in a statement that it was clear Jimmy was not making up the story as an excuse to get out of a speeding ticket. They found the snake in the bed of his truck and saw how visibly shaken he was after the ordeal. Police "promptly sought medical assistance," the local department said.
In the video you can hear the man say "I think it has bitten me, it was in the car with me. You can feel my heart mate." That's when the officer turns on his flashlight as the sun is setting and notices the rather large snake in the bed of the man's truck.
According to police, "paramedics attended the scene and it was determined that Jimmy had not actually been bitten by the snake but was certainly suffering shock."
Under Australia's Nature Conservation Act of 1992, people are not allowed to capture or injure wildlife in the state of Queensland.