Monthly Archives: July 2013

More Spider Carnage: Film at 11

Sure … a spider did this


…. and then Jesus and his angels hoisted grateful Levi and his smashed Tacoma into their loving arms. The spider, unidentified and unquoted, apparently went back to Satan’s lair to plot anew.


Spider Causes Spokane Man To Crash Into Semi

KHQ-TV, July 20, 2013 

     SPOKANE, Wash. – Around 8:30 Saturday morning, Levi Van Dyke was driving and crashed his Toyota Tacoma truck into the back of a semi truck.
      “A spider was crawling up the back of my leg and when I actually saw it, I freaked out and started swatting at it … at just the wrong time,” Van Dyke said.
      Despite the severity of the crash as the pictures show, Van Dyke was somehow able to walk away with just a scratch on his head and shoulder. “I got some angels, Jesus loves me,” he said with a smile.
      The crash happened at 3rd and Lacey just off of I-90 right off the Altamont exit.
      The driver of the semi was fine.
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Posted by on July 22, 2013 in Myths and Calumnies, Netlore


Carjacked by a Spider

Arachnophobia Kills!

Oh, it’s not all Charlotte’s Web out there. I admit it: some spiders are bad to the bone(less), dangerous characters. Here’s where I atone for excess spider hugginess.

The real threat spiders pose to us, however, is not venomous bites. They do not devour hot-tubbing heavy metal guitarists. They do not munch prison inmates. They will not molest Mythbusters. The number one threat from spiders is . . .

They are terrible drivers!


Spider causes rollover accident in Ark City

 June 10, 2013, Newscow (“Your nose for news in Cowley County”)

(I am not making that up)

(Ark City is somehow a real place, too)

(No! I don’t know if Noah was involved)

 A local driver told authorities he was using a cup to kill a spider crawling in his vehicle when he lost control and rolled it Sunday morning.

Ark City police were called to the scene for a report of an injury accident. They arrived at the east Madison underpass to find a vehicle overturned with someone trapped inside it.

23-year-old Trevor Chaparro was freed from the vehicle and had blood on his head and face. He was treated for minor injuries and declined transport to the hospital.

Chaparro was cited for no proof of insurance, no valid license plate and inattentive driving.

He told officers he saw the spider crawling near the driver side door and attempted to kill it. Chaparro looked up to see he was driving toward the center columns of the bridge and maneuvered to avoid hitting them head on.

He struck the edge of the bridge and that caused the vehicle to overturn.

Hey lady, all we said was, "Clean your windshield?" Hey -- what's that switch for? Hey!

Hey lady, all we said was, “Clean your windshield?” Hey — what’s that switch for? Hey!


Then there are the Brits, who get all silly when it comes to spider scares but who never fail to write a good headline:



“I’m a complete idiot”

 Daily Star, June 6, 2013

MOTORIST Mia Vamplew veered into the path of a police car after being spooked by a spider.

The police driver narrowly avoided a crash by braking hard before Vamplew, 28, swerved back on to her side of the road.

She told officers: “I’m a complete idiot. I freaked because a spider was above my head and I thought it may land on me.”

Vamplew, of Mullion, Cornwall, admitted careless driving and was fined £160 by Truro JPs.


This next spider caused the driver to veer “on to the wrong side of the road.” Well, of course. It’s England. She still gets “six penalty points on her licence” not for misspelling “license” but for mishandling her cricket bat in the first sentence, tut tut, bad show:


Arachnophobic driver caused car crash when spider dropped from sun visor

The Telegraph, April 4, 2012

Farmworker Lucille Ellis – who has a phobia of spiders – had been trying to bat away the arachnid when she drove her Nissan pick up on to the wrong side of the road and into the path of an oncoming car.

Ellis, 40, of North Petherwin, Cornwall, admitted careless driving last October on the A3072 road when she appeared at Bodmin magistrates court.

The other driver, Diane Martin, suffered back and leg wounds which needed skin grafts.

Ellis told police: “I was driving when a large spider dropped down in front of my face and I was just trying to bat it out of the way. I continued straight instead of taking the left hand bend and ended up on the other side of the road.”

She said she braked when she saw the oncoming car and swerved towards a verge to try and get out of the way.

She said: “I didn’t take my hands off the wheel or anything like that.”

Chris Andrews, defending, said she told police about her phobia of spiders and said it was not a “deliberate piece of bad driving”.

Magistrates fined her £325 with £100 costs and gave her six penalty points on her licence.


Note the use of the verb to show intention. The spider “made” poor Sara crash into a parked lorry, undoubtedly soiling her tea things and upsetting the Queen:


Woman causes £300 damage when she crashes car after spider lands on her lap

Daily Mirror, March 20, 2011

A TINY spider landing in her lap made driver Sara Mills, 22, crash into a parked lorry in Benfleet, Essex, ­causing £300 damage.


Now let’s go Dutch:

Woman crashes car while swatting at spider, Nov. 21, 2008

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Nov. 21 (UPI) — Police in the Netherlands said a woman crashed her car near The Hague while she was attempting to kill a spider inside the vehicle.

Authorities said the woman lost control of her car while attempting to kill the spider and the vehicle flipped over on the A4 motorway, Radio Netherlands/Expatica reported Friday.

Traffic was backed up on the A4 as a result of the crash and two lanes of the road were closed. The woman was treated for injuries at a hospital.


Whitey Bulger, make room for a real crime spree on the mean streets of Boston:


Driver blames spider inside car for crash

WHDH (Boston), September 18, 2009

WEYMOUTH, Mass. — An “itsy bitsy spider” caused a big crash in Weymouth.

Amber Buckner, 26, was at the corner of Princeton and Bridge streets when she was distracted by a spider inside her car.

She rear-ended the car in front of her, which went straight up onto two wheels and collapsed on top of her car.

Buckner, her passenger and Danielle Evju, the driver of the car she struck, were all taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

“She’s like ‘Oh my God, is everybody all right? I was just paying attention to the spider, the spider that was on my windshield.’ And that’s all that she was paying attention to,” Evju said.

Buckner is being charged with following too closely and with driving an unregistered vehicle.

“I think that it’s absolutely ridiculous, that she should have pulled over, I think paying attention on the road, I mean these are people’s lives.”

Firefighters told Evju that the way her gas tank was hit, she could have been killed.


Look, twice it’s Weymouth! Do they breed the motorists especially jumpy there? Fun! I’m off to Boston with my satchel of rubber spiders!


Driver who caused Weymouth crash was startled by spider

The Patriot Ledger, September 19, 2012

WEYMOUTH: A woman who began a chain-reaction car crash on a busy street Tuesday morning was distracted by a spider, police said.

The 23-year-old Weymouth woman was heading north on Route 18 near Hunter Terrace when the spider crawled onto her at about 9:12 a.m., police Lt. Thomas Farrell said. The woman tried to swat the spider away and accidentally hit the gas pedal, causing her to strike the car in front of her and beginning a four-car crash.

No one was injured or charged following the crash. Three of the four vehicles were towed.


In California, a grizzly account from Officer Baer:


Wildomar woman crashes after spider drops down behind her

City News Service, August 23, 2011

A woman lost control of her vehicle, which crashed Tuesday on Interstate 15 in Wildomar, after a spider dropped down on the car seat.

The accident happened around 10 a.m. on southbound I-15, near Clinton Keith Road, according to the California Highway Patrol.

 Maria Perez of Fallbrook told CHP officers that she was traveling around 65 mph when she noticed the spider. Afraid the creepy crawler might touch her, Perez tried to get away, losing control of the box truck she was driving in the process.

“She swerved onto the west dirt shoulder,” said CHP Officer Nathan Baer, adding that the vehicle spun back onto the freeway, where it overturned on its left side.

Perez walked away from the crash, which completely smashed the truck’s front windshield. No other vehicles were involved.

Two of the freeway’s three lanes were blocked for more than an hour. Perez declined medical attention, Baer said.


Finally, no serious injuries you say? Yeah, air bags are just another roller-coaster ride when you’re a hitchhiking spider. Peel it off the headliner, it’ll be fine.


 Girl trying to shoo spider crashes car

Injuries do not appear serious

Associated Press, October 10, 2011

CONSTANTINE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a 16-year-old girl was injured after losing control of the car she was driving in southwestern Michigan while trying to get a spider out of the vehicle.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports the girl had minor injuries from Sunday night’s crash in St. Joseph County’s Constantine Township. She was taken to a hospital for treatment.

The sheriff’s department says the car ran off the road and its air bag deployed.

I told you I can't drive a stick!

I told you I can’t drive a stick! Just let me eat the damn spider!

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Posted by on July 18, 2013 in Myths and Calumnies


Justice for the Brown Recluse?

Don’t Fear the Creeper

Great news—a scientist and a doctor are teaming up to develop a test to detect brown-recluse venom.

Why is this a big deal? If you’re a fan of facts, you’ll know. The brown recluse spider (Loxosceles reclusa) has a mythical persona far bigger and more menacing than the arachnid itself. It’s the go-to spider when people suffer a skin insult and need to blame a bug. It doesn’t matter if the recluse didn’t do the deed—or even if the recluse doesn’t live in the same state as the invisible biter—this particular spider gets the rap.

At least until you admit your guitar player died of something a little sadder, like liver failure.

Lately the fact-finders of the spider world are getting a little traction, at last, for the idea that “spider bite” is a weak diagnosis for mystery lesions. People are gradually letting it sink in that staph, lice, ticks, ants, mosquitoes, even diabetes can cause medically significant skin problems, too.

Still, the Invisible Spider stalks the internet in every bloggy tale of a gardener with a red bump that oozed and ached and required serious frowns from every doctor in the county. I’ll leave it to the folklorists and anthropologists and psychologists to explain why we have this instinct to blame spiders for every affront. Perhaps, in the immortal words of Oingo Boingo, “they’ve got too many legs.”

Once bitten, not shy: the tarantella gave thousands of costumed European folk an excuse to go footloose and defy social convention. (From "Stomp: A History of Disco and Invertebrates")

Once bitten, not shy: the tarantella gave thousands of colorfully garbed barefoot Europeans an excuse to go footloose and defy social convention. (From “Stomp: A History of Disco and Invertebrates”)

. . . Except for the tarantella dance—anybody can see why dancing deliriously and merrily groping your fellow rustics would be a big hit. Yes, officer, the spider made me twerk.

That’s why an actual medical test for a brown recluse bite could be such a big leap. First for the patient—since spider bite diagnosis is so scattershot, so are the treatments. Are antibiotics required? Steroids? Excision? Just clean the wound and rest? Why is my “spider bite” showing evidence of MRSA or other infection—is that somehow conveyed by a spider? The above-mentioned article from Wayne County, Missouri, a place where brown recluses actually do reside, quotes the test’s co-developer as saying he knew of a child being unsuccessfully treated for brown-recluse bite when in fact she had a life-threatening infection. She died.

A venom test could clear the way to standardized, effective treatment and diminished threat to public health. Doctors can be dummkopfs, too:

A study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine in 2007 found that South Carolina doctors diagnosed 738 brown recluse spider bites in 2004. However, since 1953 only 44 brown recluse specimens have been verified from six South Carolina counties.

But I’m also hoping the venom test will strike a blow for fact appreciation. It’s not good to walk around sweating bullets about non-threats. Not just spiders. If we can train ourselves to pay attention to careful science and swat away ignorant loudmouths, we can play a better hand in reality-based life. We’ll stop recoiling from spiders or vaccines or Happy Meals toys.