St. Charles man dies after bitten by snake

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - A St. Charles man is dead after he was bitten by a Copperhead snake.  It happened while he was camping with his son at Sam A. Baker State Park, just west of Cape Girardeau.

According to Wayne County Sheriff Dean Finch, on Tuesday night, Levins spotted a snake right outside their cabin and picked it up.  Then, the 18 to 20-inch snake bit him three times on his hand.

Less than five minutes later, Levins went into anaphylactic shock, and died.  It’s a devastating situation, and incredibly rare. It’s only the third death from a Copperhead bite in the state’s history.

Missouri Department of Conservation Spokesperson Dan Zarlenga says, “Deaths from snake bites are pretty much below things like lightning strikes and slipping and falling on ice.”

Still, this sudden death is unnerving news for St. Louisans who love spending time in state parks.  Castlewood State Park visitor Kelly Debord says, “Kinda scary to think that you could die in a state park.”

Ryan Eichorn adds, “It’s terrible, because I go to a state park all the time, and that very well could have been me. So I’ll definitely keep an eye on that in the future and do my best to avoid any rattlesnakes, or any snakes for that matter.”

Zarlenga says avoiding snakes is key: “The vast majority of snake bites that occur, occur when people try to pick up snakes, or handle them, or kill them, or harass them in some way. So the best thing you can do is leave them alone, and that’ll really decrease your chances of any encounters with a snake.”

If you do get bitten, seek medical attention immediately. Zarlenga adds, “One of the things that also helps is try to do as little activity as possible, because the more you move, the more activity, the more your heart beats, the more the venom spreads through your body.”

Tim Levins’ funeral will be held Monday morning, at St. Peter Catholic Church in St. Charles.

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