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Tow Truck Driver Bitten by Rattlesnake (FL)

Rebecca @ Tatum's

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We are asking for thoughts and prayers for one of our tow truck drivers, who is also a Patrol Officer for the Hillsborough County School System and former EMS for Pasco County: Mike Rodriguez. I have received his permission to share the events of his incident from yesterday.


I spoke to Mike Sunday morning. The hospital has determined that he was bitten by a Diamondback Rattle Snake. He is in the critical care section of the ICU in Tampa and they are expecting him to be there until at least until Wednesday. The swelling in his arm is starting to go down as his white blood cell count, both of which is good. His previous tow call was in Land O’Lakes to a wooded/high grass area. The EMS believe that the snake got into the frame of his truck on that call, and when he pulled over on the side of the road at Fowler/I-275 to fix his straps, it was already with him. They told him that it is not common to be bitten by a rattlesnake in the area he was in..


After he was done adjusting the straps, he heard a hissing sound and bent down to check his tires thinking that perhaps he had something in a tire. When he bent over, the snake dropped down to the ground and bit him in the forearm. He calmly drove to the shop and parked the truck, at which time the dispatchers called for an ambulance. EMS had started 3 IV lines on him at the yard prior to transporting him because he was already going into shock and was in and out of consciousness. EMS was having trouble locating the anti-venom, and was going to have to fly him out to Miami. However they were actually able to get some sent to hospital from Busch Gardens. Mike said the lead EMS was calling all over trying to locate which facility had anti-venom and had been told one had gotten some just previously from Busch Gardens. The lead EMS contacted Busch Gardens and Busch Gardens had the anti-venom to the hospital by the time that Mike arrived there to start his treatment.


Mike is very appreciative, as are we at Action Towing & Tatum’s Towing, for the quick response and excellent treatment that he received from the EMS on scene, to Busch Gardens for providing the anti-venom to the hospital, and for the superb treatment he is receiving from the hospital/ICU staff at Advent Health Tampa. He has been receiving a lot visitors and is thankful. As previously mentioned, he would appreciate continued thoughts and prayers for rapid healing without complications.



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Now, that's  tow truck story that doesn't happen very often. I covered this topic in American Towman year's ago regarding snakes, spiders, and other creepers that are always in and near tow truck environments we tower's serve. Rattlesnake bites are common here in Southern California. And, especially now that fall (cooler) weather is coming, rattlesnakes tend to hide in dark, shady places to get out of the sun, and then on-top of rocks and surfaces as weather is cooler in the evenings. Way to go Mike in remaining cool so to keep that heart rate down. I personally never have heard of a rattlesnake letting air out of a tow truck's tires, but stranger things have happened right? Mike ... we're hoping for your speedy and full recovery.    R.

Randall C. Resch

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