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Published June 03 2010

Hit-and-run driver says tarantula bit him

A Moorhead man reported to have crashed his car into a pickup and mailbox on Monday told Fargo police he was being bitten by a tarantula at the time, Sgt. Mark Lykken said.

The hit-and-run incident happened at about 6:50 p.m. Monday at 18th Street South and 29th Avenue in Fargo.

Lee Alexander Solarski, 27, was reportedly driving a 1998 Dodge Stratus northbound on 18th Street when he lost control of the car, hit a Nissan pickup and a mailbox and fled the scene.

Witnesses provided the car’s license plate number, and police were able to identify Solarski as the driver, Lykken said.

Solarski told police the tarantula belonged to his car’s 22-year-old male passenger, Lykken said.

The tarantula wasn’t found during the investigation. Lykken said it was unclear whether Solarski was actually bitten.

The police report has been forwarded to the Fargo City Attorney’s Office to determine if charges are warranted, he said.

Damage to the pickup was estimated at $8,000.

Solarski previously pleaded guilty to aiding an offender and was sentenced to a year in jail in connection with the December 2004 ax murder of David Hinojosa Jr. on a gravel road near Glyndon, Minn. Two other men were convicted for the killing.

Two charges of driving while intoxicated are also pending against Solarski in Clay County District Court, and he’s scheduled to be sentenced in Clay County on June 11 on two felony drug charges to which he has pleaded guilty.