WAYNE COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Wayne County Sheriff Dean Finch says a man has died from a snake bite at Sam A. Baker State Park. It happened on Tuesday evening around 9 p.m.
Bobbie and Bill Roberts are camping at Sam A. Baker State Park. They say they were shocked to hear about the incident.
"Really, that's just a horrible thing and out thoughts and prayers go out to all of his loved ones," Bobbie Roberts said.
The sheriff's office got a call about the snake bite and an ambulance arrived a short time later.
Finch said first responders found Tim Levins of St. Charles, Missouri unresponsive and that a person on the scene was performing CPR.
The man had three bites on his right hand. Investigators believe he was bit by an 18-20 inch copperhead snake.
The man's 11-year-old son said he and his dad had walked out of the cabin and saw the snake. He told the sheriff his dad picked it up and the snake bit him.
Levins was taken to Poplar Bluff Regional. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The cause of death was anaphylactic shock due to the snake bite. That means it was his body's reaction to the venom that caused his death.
"Most of the time when people die from a copperhead bite, which is usually what they say, it's usually not from the actual bite, it's because they had a previous medical condition," Sara Turner with the Missouri Department of Conservation said.
The sheriff said about two or three minutes passed from the time Levins got bit and washed his hands to when he went into shock.
This is the third death caused by a copperhead bite in Missouri. There was one bite death in the 1960s, one in 2012 and this year's, according to a state park ranger. Turner says about 200 people are bitten by copperhead snakes each year.
The sheriff says to use extra caution, especially this time of year when snakes are active.
Turner says these campers have the right idea when it comes to snakes, especially copperheads.
"Walk away and leave it alone. Run," The Luke's said.
"Make a lot of noise and if you see it leave it alone," Roberts said.
These folks say despite the incident, they'll keep enjoying the outdoors at this park.
"This is a great place to camp, have fun," Kent Luke said.