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When one considers the dangers of driving a car, getting injured or killed in an accident is the most common concern. Also, there are various automotive scams, such as the “check engine light tape scam.” However, a troubling incident in Texas highlights another potential concern: a poison napkin on a car door handle. If you see this, you should immediately call the police. 

Houston woman hospitalized after touching poison napkin on a car door handle

White napkin on a silver car door handle, highlighting poison napkin that hospitalized woman in Houston, Texas
Napkin on a car door handle | Mark Putzer, MotorBiscuit

After grabbing a bite to eat at a restaurant or doing some shopping, it’s not uncommon to find an advertisement flyer on the windshield of your car. However, if you see an unusual object, such as a napkin, there’s cause for concern. If you touch it, you could put yourself in danger. Erin Mims, a woman from Houston, Texas, found this out the hard way — and now she’s warning others to beware of the poison napkin on a door handle. 

Earlier in August, Mims, an owner of a salon, celebrated her birthday with her husband at a Houston restaurant. After returning to their car following the birthday dinner, she found a napkin on the door handle. 

Mims said that she’s typically careful regarding potential germs, but the margarita she had at the restaurant made her less cautious. She also thought that the napkin was probably a prank played by her husband, as reported by Fox 26 Houston.

“I didn’t think nothing of it, I just threw it out,” said Mims. “I opened the door with the tips of my fingers. I asked my husband, did you put a napkin in the door? And he said no.”

Mims was diagnosed with acute poisoning in a possible kidnapping attempt

Erin Mims from Houston, Texas,hospitalized after touching poison napkin on a car door handle
Erin Mims in hospital | Fox 26 Houston via YouTube

Mims then went back to the restaurant. She washed her hands and returned to the car. Shortly after, she felt a tingling sensation in her fingers. “Maybe five minutes, my whole arm started tingling and feeling numb. I couldn’t breathe,” said Mims. “I started getting hot flashes, my chest was hurting, my heart was beating really fast.”

Then, Mim’s husband drove her to the hospital. To diagnose her health ailments, doctors did a urine sample, blood tests, and a CAT scan. Mims explained, “They said my vitals were all over the place. The doctor came in, and told me it wasn’t enough in my system to determine what it was, but said it was acute poisoning from an unknown substance.”

Also, her doctor believed that the poisoning was a failed kidnapping attempt. The details of Mim’s toxicology are unknown. However, Mark Winter, a local Houston poison control expert, said, “In her video, her symptoms match hundreds of different poisons. It is possible. I’ve learned over my 40 years, that anything is possible when it comes to the human body.”

Other possible incidents of poison napkins on car door handles

The Houston DEA office and the Houston Police Department stated that this was the first time that they had heard of an incident of a poison napkin on a car door handle. However, another person reached out to Mims and claimed they saw other cars in the parking lot with a napkin on the door handle. Also, in comments left on a social media post by Mims, users described similar incidents. It’s unknown if these accounts were verified, though. 

Following the incident, Mims is warning others to beware of the poison napkin. She said, “I just want them to know what happened. When they see that napkin, in their head they’re going to know not to touch it. I just want everybody to be careful. Physically, I’m ok but emotionally, mentally, I’m not. I don’t even want to go anywhere by myself.” Mims also said that the incident was “the scariest moment of her life.”

In addition to the warning from Mims, authorities issued warnings about the poison napkin — even outside of the Houston area. Across the state border in Louisiana, as reported by KLFY, the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office stated, “We have not received any similar reports of the story below in or around our parish. However, Houston, TX is not that far away. So we do want to inform residents of DeSoto Parish to be proactive.”


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