As Close to Idiotic as Possible

     (CN) – Employees of a Texas sheriff hid a diamondback rattlesnake in a police truck and sent an unsuspecting jail trustee to get “a special tool” from the vehicle, the injured man claims in court.
     Robert Coates sued the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office in Chambers County District Court. Chambers County, whose seat is Anahuac, is east of Houston.
     Coates claims he was seriously injured by the stupid prank – not by a snakebite, but by falling as he ran from the snake, which was “in striking position.”
     The complaint states: “On March 28, 2013, Robert Coates was seriously injured when Chambers County Sheriff’s Department employees his a diamondback rattlesnake on the floor board of the back seat of a police vehicle to scare Coates. At the time of the incident, Coates was a temporary trustee under the control and supervision of the Chambers County Sheriff’s Department.
     “Employees of the Sheriff’s Department ordered Coates, a trustee, to retrieve a ‘special tool’ from the floor board of a truck in County’s auto maintenance building. When Coates opened the door as ordered, he reached down to find a large Diamondback rattlesnake in striking position placed there by another employee of the Sheriff’s Department as a ‘practical joke.’
     “Various employees of the Sheriff’s Department laughed as Coates tried to run away and fell on his back and hip on a stone floor. Injured from the fall, Coates was taken back to his jail cell. Prison doctors ultimately determined Coates sustained nerve damage to his spine and injuries to his left hip, both of which will require extensive surgery in the near future.”
     Coates seeks damages for negligence.
     He is represented by Jason Gibson in Houston.
     Diamondback rattlesnakes can grow to nearly 7 feet long. Their bite can be fatal or crippling. Baby snakes are thought to be more dangerous than adults, as they may not know how to control the amount of venom they inject.

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