What to do if you run over at 10-ft python? Eugene teen now knows

EUGENE, Ore. -- When Kyle Purdy takes his driving test in a couple weeks, he will already have passed a challenge most drivers never face:

What do you do if you run over a 10-foot python?

Kyle, 16, and his dad, Dwight, spotted something strange in the road as they turned off Cal Young Road onto Spyglass Drive around 10 p.m. Tuesday night in north Eugene.

"There was this thing that looked like a tree branch that went from one end of the curb into the street," said Kyle, who will be a sophomore at Sheldon High School this fall. "It was very, very long."

Kyle swerved, then backed up -- and accidentally ran over the python.

"It was like a speed bump," said Kyle, who was behind the wheel of the family sedan.

The snake appeared to be OK as it slithered off the road and onto the sidewalk, so the Purdys went door-to-door and asked neighbors if they owned snake.

Nobody did.

So they called Eugene police.

"They couldn't believe it at first," Kyle said.

Officer Lori Barnes was the first on scene. She grabbed hold of the snake and held tight, worried that the snake was about to slither up a utility pole.

Neighbors brought over a cage, and Barnes and other officers wrestled the snake into her patrol car. After a visit to an emergency veterinary  hospital, police lodged the snake at Lane County Animal Services.

"It really, really showed it was fine and it was really powerful when the officer tried to grab," Kyle said. "It really put up quite a fight."

This isn't the first time Eugene police have tangled with a python. In April 2008, Sgt. Ryan Nelson of the Eugene Police Department rescued a pet store owner from a 12-foot Burmese python.

And in July 2008, a 6-foot-6 boa snake got loose in west Eugene.

Lost snakes can have serious consequences: In July 2009, a loose python strangled a 2-year-old girl in Florida.