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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Police say man took very bad drink along with stolen tractor-trailor rig

Associated Press

VANCOUVER, Wash. – A man who failed to look before he swallowed and wound up choking on someone else’s tobacco spit has been arrested in the theft of a tractor-trailer rig, police said.

Cuitlahvac Renteria-Martinez, 26, of Vancouver, was arrested for investigation of first-degree theft Monday morning shortly after he called 911 for emergency medical help, according to a police report.

Renteria-Martinez remained in the Clark County Jail with bail set at $20,000 Wednesday pending a court appearance Jan. 21.

According to the report, the driver of a $60,000 Freightliner containing about $15,000 worth of merchandise left the engine idling at a local shopping mall while he went into a Sears store to wash grease off his hands, then emerged to see the truck being driven away.

Police checked the truck’s onboard global positioning system and converged on the vehicle at an intersection in the Fisher’s Landing part of town as Renteria-Martinez was calling 911, saying and telling a Spanish-language translator he was choking and needed help.

After being arrested, Renteria-Martinez told investigators he was driving when he saw a cup, took a drink without looking.

Only then did he learn that he had swallowed the regular driver’s tobacco spit, police wrote.

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