A man bitten by a large rattlesnake he was...

March 25, 1987

BROWNWOOD, Texas -- A man bitten by a large rattlesnake he was trying to capture in a rattler roundup died Wednesday, the first fatality in the event's 23-year history, authorities said.

Glenn Alexander, 29, of Irving, Texas, had been listed in extremely critical condition at Brownwood Regional Hospital since he was bitten Saturday, and died at 1:30 a.m., hospital officials said.

The reptile buried its fangs in Alexander's left forearm and clung, apparently injecting all its venom, witnesses told doctors.

The attack, the second of the month at Texas rattlesnake roundups, occurred shortly after 10 a.m. Saturday near the Mills County community of Democrat, and friends brought Alexander to the hospital, arriving around 11:30 a.m., the victim's father, Dean Alexander said.

Doctors said the younger Alexander received no medical attention in the interim.

'He did everything wrong that we tell the people not to do,' said David Rodriquez, vice president of the Brownwood Jaycees and organizer of the roundup held last weekend. 'What I heard was his blood alcohol level was very high. We always say alcohol and venom do not mix.'

A nursing supervisor said she could not comment on Rodriguez's statement.

Rodriguez said the roundup pays $100 to the person who brings in the largest rattlesnake, $100 for the heaviest and $2.75 a pound for all others. The Jaycees have no plans to cancel the roundup.

His son had been bitten once before by a rattlesnake, but had suffered no serious consequences, the elder Alexander said.

Alexander and a group of friends were beating the rocky brush country Saturday for rattlesnakes to bring to the weekend Brownwood Jaycee Rattlesnake Roundup.

'Most snakebite victims don't die, but all snakebites are serious,' said Brownwood Jaycee and physician's assistant Tom Byrd. 'The rattlesnake's venom can cause a lot of problems with the circulatory system and with clotting mechanisms.'

Another man, a snake handler, was slashed across the stomach by a rattlesnake during an exhibition at the Jaycees Rattlesnake Roundup March 13-15 in Sweetwater, a spokeswoman for the Sweetwater Chamber of Commerce said Wednesday.

'Daddy Bill Ransberger was showing the audience how quickly snakes can strike, and the snake broke all the records,' Lynne Carlson said.

'It got Bill right in the stomach, but it didn't get a good hold on him. It was the 39th time Bill has been bitten,' she said.

Carlson said Ransberger, a retired railroad worker, retreated to his recreational vehicle, sucked out the venom with a snakebite kit 'and made it to the next show.'

Carlson said most rattlesnakes in the area are western diamondbacks. 'The biggest one brought into this year's roundup was 55 inches long,' she said.

Officials said no one ever had died from snakebite at the Sweetwater or Brownwood roundups.

'We are all extremely cautious,' Carlson said. 'Nobody can afford to be casual around a rattlesnake.'

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