Snake Bite Death Investigation Leads to Va. Man's Arrest

February 4, 2011

Wildlife officers investigating a snake bite death have arrested a Virginia man with 12 live poisonous snakes and a cooler loaded with dead snakes in the southeastern Tennessee community where the death occurred.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency spokesman Dan Hicks said 38-year-old Samuel Charles Hurd of Gate City, Virginia was arrested Thursday and charged with 48 misdemeanor counts that include possessing dangerous wildlife.

Hicks said that, unlike Virginia, possessing a poisonous snake in Tennessee is illegal.

Hicks said the arrest is part of an ongoing investigation.

Hurd was released on a self-recognizance bond pending a Monday court hearing in Chattanooga. A jail officer said there is no record of a lawyer representing Hurd.

Wade Westbrook of East Bridge died Saturday from a severe allergic reaction after a copperhead bit him.

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