Lewiston man recovering from Wal-Mart rattlesnake bite

CLARKSTON, Wash. - A Lewiston, Idaho man is recovering from a rattlesnake bite he says he received while shopping in the garden center of the Clarkston Wal-Mart last Friday.

Mica Craig, 47, has spent four days at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center being treated for a rattlesnake bite. He says he was shopping for mulch at the Clarkston Wal-Mart last Friday. Craig couldn't see the price of the brand he wanted on the mulch because he thought a stick was in the way.

Mica Craig Wal-Mart snakebite video

So Craig grabbed the stick to move it out of the way, and that's when he realized the stick was actually a rattlesnake, which then bit him. A customer nearby Craig grabbed him, put him in his car and took him to the hospital.

Doctors say his bite was a moderate one that required six vials of anti-venom; he also required surgery to avoid getting compartment syndrome in his hand, which could have left him permanently disfigured.

Craig says he was grateful for the quick actions of the customers and the hospital for helping him. He says he's received several phone messages from Wal-Mart but is waiting until he gets a lawyer before responding. He says his medical bills are running in the tens of thousands of dollars.

"I want to find out what's wrong with my hand and the extent of everything before I do any talking to anybody, and see if I have to get legal advice or what," Craig said at a news conference he called Monday afternoon at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center.

Craig says he expects to be released from the hospital Tuesday and then, he says, he'll begin working to find an attorney.

Wal-Mart's corporate offices released a statement Monday about Craig's run-in with the snake at their Clarkston store last Friday. The statement reads:

"We apologize that Mr. Craig had this experience. We're looking into how this could have occurred. Upon hearing of this incident, we immediately contacted EMTs so Mr. Craig could have the proper medical attention.

"Obviously, we are concerned this could have happened. We've been working directly with Mr. Craig who is appreciative of the store's actions."

If this incident sounds familiar, it's remarkably similar to another incident that happened last year in Arkansas.

In the spring of 2011 two men were arrested after one of them claimed to have been bitten by a copperhead snake inside the garden center of a Wal-Mart in Springdale, Ark.

Police said that two men -- Ryan Cornelison and Aaron Hull -- were involved in an incident where Cornelison was allegedly bitten by a snake, which was witnessed by Hull. Authorities investigated and later arrested the men for filing a false report. It turned out that Cornelison and Hull concocted the story to get money from Wal-Mart.