A south suburban police chief was on a ride-along Wednesday night when his squad car picked up an unexpected passenger.
Park Forest Police Chief Chris Mannino was on patrol with Officer Stuart Walden when Walden spotted a 3-foot-long snake on the road, and stopped to investigate.
“He pulled over and said ‘Oh my gosh, look at that,’ and we got out and there was this very large snake just laying there in the road,” said Mannino.
But when they stepped out of the car to examine the snake at the intersection of Brooke Park Lane and Abbey Lane, it slithered toward their squad car and up under the hood, launching a 30-minute-long quest for the officers to extract it safely.
Mannino says he put on a pair of gloves and got to work trying to wrangle the snake out from under the hood of the car.
“Every time we would move, it would just move to another area of the engine where it was difficult to reach,” said Mannino. “It wasn’t until we got him closer to the top that we were able to get in and grab him.”
Mannino was able to quickly grab the snake behind its head and safely remove it from the car. He and Walden then released it at a nearby forest preserve.
Park Forest Police tweeted photos of the ordeal Thursday morning, and commenters weighed in on the saga and tried to help identify the type of snake. Many said they recognized it as an eastern foxsnake, which is native to the area.
“It was the biggest snake I’ve ever seen in the wild, for sure,” Mannino said.