Drunk driver steals python, crashes car

The New York woman is facing charges of reckless endangerment and larceny.

FILE: A New York woman crashed her Toyota Prius into a firehouse with a stolen python wrapped around her neck on 4 August. Picture: Free Images.

NEW YORK - A New York woman, who crashed her Toyota Prius into a firehouse with a stolen python wrapped around her neck, faces charges of reckless endangerment and larceny, police said on Tuesday.

Sarah Espinosa (22) from Albany, drove over the centre median on the Jericho Turnpike in Long Island late Monday and plowed through the garage door of the New Hyde Park Fire House, damaging two fire trucks, the Nassau County Police Department said in a statement.

"Fire personnel who were present at the time of the accident rendered aid to the victim, at which time they discovered a small ball python snake wrapped around the defendant's neck," police said.

Firefighters removed the snake and Espinosa was transported to a local hospital, police said. She was released a short time later.

She was charged with reckless driving, driving while intoxicated, and unlawful possession of marijuana in addition to reckless endangerment in the second degree and petit larceny.

Police said they were not sure if the snake had been strangling Espinosa and caused her to crash, or if her driving was impaired by intoxication.

Espinosa is accused of stealing the snake from a nearby PETCO store before the crash, police said. The animal, priced at $89.99, was returned to the pet store later on Monday, police said.

She was scheduled to be arraigned later on Tuesday at First District Court in Hempstead. A spokesman with the Nassau County District Attorney's office said Espinosa would be assigned an attorney at her arraignment.

Small ball pythons are smaller and more docile than other types of python, according to PETCO's website.