Sarah Espinosa, of Albany, New York, went on quite a spree Monday, according to police in the Long Island community of New Hyde Park. First, she did a little shoplifting — of a snake. A ball python, to be specific, that came from a Petco store in Garden City Park.
An employee at the store told the Long Island TV station News12 that the 22-year-old woman appeared to be shopping at the store when she asked to handle the python, which carried a price tag of $89. But when employees there went to help another customer, she slipped the small snake into her pocket and disappeared from the store.
At some point, according to a police report, Espinosa also got drunk. Which may explain why she saw fit to wrap the python around her neck and wear it like a necklace. At least, that’s how she was found around 7 pm after her 2010 Toyota Prius jumped a median on Long Island’s Jericho Turnpike, crashed into an oncoming Nissan Sentra, then ran off the road completely, smashing through the front door of a firehouse and slamming into, not one, but two fire trucks.
“We heard a loud bang and then a second loud bang,” the New Hyde Park Fire Chief, Steven Waldron, said. “As soon as she went through the doors, firefighters began the rescue.”
The firefighters managed to remove the snake from around Espinosa’s neck and keep it safe. The snake was later returned in good shape to the Petco store.
Police also found marijuana in Espinosa’s car, just another detail to add to the woman’s eventful evening.
Espinosa was taken to a nearby hospital after the crash, where she was treated and released — and then she was arrested. Police were not yet able to determine if the snake was actually strangling the woman as she was driving, which could have caused the bizarre Prius mishap — or if she was just intoxicated.
While luckily no firefighters were in the garage when Espinosa’s Prius came barreling in, the firehouse door needed significant repairs and one of the fire trucks took a dent to its bumper.
Espinosa appeared in court Tuesday morning, where she was slapped with charges of reckless endangerment, reckless driving, driving while intoxicated, unlawful possession of marijuana and petty larceny.
Sarah Espinosa pleaded not guilty, but her driver’s license was suspended. She is due back in court Thursday, when the court may get to hear her explanation for the strange sequence of events that led to her arrest. She is not expected, however, to say that God was driving her car.