Darren Doyle, story
Eric Tuck, photos
What was first thought to be something that fell out of the back of a truck turned out to be a close call for a Chalybeate man in his own driveway on Tuesday, August 16, 2016 around 7pm.
Don Starnes, owner of Starnes Construction, said he was returning home from work on Tuesday when he saw something laying flat in his driveway. He said he was on the phone at the time and wasn't paying too close attention to the object on the ground. He said at first glance, he assumed it was possibly a piece of building material or a tool that had fallen from an employee's truck.
He said he pulled up beside the item, still on the phone, and opened the door to pick it up. As he opened the door, he saw that it was actually a three foot-long copperhead that struck at his hand, hitting the running board of his truck.
"I threw the phone down and pulled out the pistol I carry," he said, which was a five-shot .22 magnum. "Well, I emptied that gun and hit him twice in the body, but that didn't stop him, he was a very aggressive snake."
Starnes said he grabbed a tool out of the bed of his truck and swung it at the snake in an attempt to finish it off.
"Every time I'd get close enough to hit it, he'd strike at me," he said. "I finally hit him in the head and killed him, but man, you talk about a close call."
Starnes joked about being able to hit the snake with gunfire in all the excitement. "He was moving around and I was moving around, so I thought that was pretty good, me being able to hit him."
He said he was certainly going to clean up and organize around his shop and home. "They say where there's one, there's at least one more. I'd just like for people in our community to be aware."
Although copperhead bites are rarely fatal in adults, their venom breaks down muscle tissue and causes extreme pain and discomfort over long periods of time.
The snake measured 38 and 1/2 inches long. Some suggested making a belt from the snake, but a family friend joked that Starnes' belt size is much larger than a 38.