Steve Sachs Duke


Tuesday, February 10, 2004


You're free! You're free! Sorry for the long delay in posting -- there's a mountain of work and unanswered emails ahead. But I couldn't help noticing this story, which could have come straight from the mind of Gary Larson (or just the Associated Press):

Overturned Van Spills 700 Live Rodents
Fri Feb 6, 3:49 PM ET

PEARISBURG, Va. - A cargo van filled with cages carrying more than 700 gerbils, rats, mice and other rodents overturned Thursday, sending the animals scurrying onto a highway and sparking a bizarre large-scale rescue of the small animals.

The accident occurred when the van, driven by Thomas Marcinko of Zanesville, Ohio, hit an icy patch of U.S. 460 and ran off the left side of the road, hit a guardrail, overturned and slid onto the shoulder.

The animals, being transported in plastic cages, made a break for freedom.

"We caught probably 20 or 25 outside the vehicle. We caught another 25 inside the vehicle," said Bill Davis, one of eight members of the Giles County Lifesaving Squad who responded to a call for help. "Then we realized they were everywhere."

Marcinko walked away from the accident, and once he was checked out, the search for the critters was on.

"As cold as it is outside, we couldn't just leave them," Davis said. "I just started throwing them in back of the ambulance."

This reminds me of a classic Far Side cartoon, in which a cat gazes longingly out the window at a truck accident involving "Al's Rodents" and "Ernie's Small, Flightless Birds." Good to know that the crack rodent-catchers of the Giles County Lifesaving Squad were on the job.




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