Fleeing suspect attacked by alligator in Pinellas Co. - WRBL

Fleeing suspect attacked by alligator in Pinellas Co.

Posted: Updated:
PINELLAS COUNTY, FL -

A man who ran from deputies during a traffic stop turned up later in the hospital, claiming he'd been attacked by an alligator.

It happened early Thursday morning in the 7100 block of 78th Avenue North.  Deputies say they pulled over Bryan Zuniga, 20, for failing to maintain a single lane.  Instead of cooperating, Zuniga opened the passenger door, jumped out of the vehicle, kicked a hole in a nearby fence, and escaped.

About nine hours later, Zuniga was found at a local hospital, where he was being treated for multiple puncture wounds to his face, arm, and armpit area.  Zuniga told deputies he was attacked by an alligator near a water treatment plant in unincorporated St. Petersburg.

Neighbors who live in Westchester Estates say they are used to seeing wildlife in the area near the plant.  Most had heard of Zuniga's encounter with the reptile.  "Anybody who does something that's questionably judgemental about jumping into the water to flee the police kind of like asked for that kind of response" said Donna Keller.  Another neighbor said she see hawks, osprey, dolphins and alligators all the time. She says none of them bother people.  "I just think that's so stupid. Why in the world would you jump in there? There are alligators in there. You know it. But I'm sure he learned his lesson. I think next time he might stop for the police officer" said Cindy Fletcher.

Zuniga was released from the hospital and transported to jail.  He is charged with breaking or injuring fences, fleeing and eluding a police officer, driving while driver's licenses suspended/revoked, and resisting an officer without violence.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @wflatampa

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • TPD homicide detective under federal criminal investigation

    TPD homicide detective under federal criminal investigation

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 6:55 PM EDT2014-04-22 22:55:30 GMT
    Tampa Police Officer Eric Houston, who is working at a crime scene in this file photo, is under federal investigation.Tampa Police Officer Eric Houston, who is working at a crime scene in this file photo, is under federal investigation.
    The feds are investigating one of Tampa Police Department's lead homicide detectives. Officer Eric Houston, who is one of the lead detectives in the Julie Schenecker murder investigation, is under federal criminal investigation. 
    The feds are investigating one of Tampa Police Department's lead homicide detectives. Officer Eric Houston, who is one of the lead detectives in the Julie Schenecker murder investigation, is under federal criminal investigation. 
  • New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 4:01 AM EDT2014-04-22 08:01:42 GMT
    Soldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photoSoldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photo
     When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
    When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
  • Tampa homeowner says Duke Energy is a bully for taking her oak tree

    Tampa homeowner says Duke Energy is a bully for taking her oak tree

    Monday, April 21 2014 5:34 PM EDT2014-04-21 21:34:15 GMT
    Neda Dandache and her family love their backyard oasis, even though a gigantic Duke Energy transmission tower abuts their backyard. Oak trees block that view, for now, and give them shade.The trees have never been an issue, but now, Duke wants them gone. Dandache says Duke's forester told her they may cause a problem - seven years from now."
    Neda Dandache and her family love their backyard oasis, even though a gigantic Duke Energy transmission tower abuts their backyard. Oak trees block that view, for now, and give them shade.The trees have never been an issue, but now, Duke wants them gone. Dandache says Duke's forester told her they may cause a problem - seven years from now."
  • NewsMore>>

  • Michigan man among 1st in US to get 'bionic eye'

    Michigan man among 1st in US to get 'bionic eye'

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 3:29 AM EDT2014-04-23 07:29:56 GMT
    A degenerative eye disease slowly robbed Roger Pontz of his vision.
    A degenerative eye disease slowly robbed Roger Pontz of his vision.
  • SKorea ferry toll hits 150 as search gets tougher

    SKorea ferry toll hits 150 as search gets tougher

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 2:36 AM EDT2014-04-23 06:36:03 GMT
    The grim work of recovering bodies from the submerged South Korea ferry proceeded rapidly Wednesday, with the official death toll reaching 150, though a government official said divers must now rip through cabin...
    The grim work of recovering bodies from the submerged South Korea ferry proceeded rapidly Wednesday, with the official death toll reaching 150, though a government official said divers must now rip through cabin walls to...
  • Australia signals deeper search for Malaysian jet

    Australia signals deeper search for Malaysian jet

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 2:04 AM EDT2014-04-23 06:04:44 GMT
    As the search continued off the coast of Australia for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet on Monday, the airline announced another plane bound for India was forced to make an emergency landing after one of its tires...
    Australia's prime minister said Wednesday that failure to find any clue in the most likely crash site of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet would not spell the end of the search, as officials planned to soon bring in...
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.