Fleeing suspect attacked by alligator in Pinellas Co. - WFLA News Channel 8

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

  • NewsMore>>

  • TPD: Vehicle in fatal crash on cemetery grounds was stolen

    TPD: Vehicle in fatal crash on cemetery grounds was stolen

    Saturday, July 26 2014 1:46 PM EDT2014-07-26 17:46:18 GMT
    Tampa Police investigators say the driver of the stolen Honda Civic lost control of the vehicle. Tampa Police investigators say the driver of the stolen Honda Civic lost control of the vehicle.
    A vehicle involved in a fatal crash on the grounds of the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Tampa was stolen.The two occupants of the black Honda Civic may have been involved in a shooting approximately 20 minutes before they died.
    A vehicle involved in a fatal crash on the grounds of the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Tampa was stolen.The two occupants of the black Honda Civic may have been involved in a shooting approximately 20 minutes before they died.
  • Lakeland PD detective arrested on DUI charge

    Lakeland PD detective arrested on DUI charge

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:52 PM EDT2014-07-26 16:52:02 GMT
    Lane, 41, was hired by the Lakeland Police Dept. in October 1996. Lane, 41, was hired by the Lakeland Police Dept. in October 1996.
    A detective with the Lakeland Police Department has been placed on administrative leave following his arrest Friday night on a driving under the influence charge.Billy Lane, 41, was hired by LPD in October 1996.
    A detective with the Lakeland Police Department has been placed on administrative leave following his arrest Friday night on a driving under the influence charge.Billy Lane, 41, was hired by LPD in October 1996.
  • New leader at Special Ops Command Center in Tampa

    New leader at Special Ops Command Center in Tampa

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:32 PM EDT2014-07-26 16:32:37 GMT
    Gen. Joseph Votel will assume command next month. Gen. Joseph Votel will assume command next month.
    Army Gen. Joseph Votel will assume leadership of the U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, replacing the man widely credited with planning the mission that killed Osama bin Laden.Votel will assume leadership of Special Operations Command from Navy Adm. William McRaven.
    Army Gen. Joseph Votel will assume leadership of the U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, replacing the man widely credited with planning the mission that killed Osama bin Laden.Votel will assume leadership of Special Operations Command from Navy Adm. William McRaven.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Lakeland man spray-paints garage door with message for thief

    Lakeland man spray-paints garage door with message for thief

    Saturday, July 26 2014 9:53 AM EDT2014-07-26 13:53:51 GMT
    Jerry Ashley's message spray-painted on his garage door.Jerry Ashley's message spray-painted on his garage door.
    A Lakeland man, grieving his wife’s passing, has spray-painted his garage door with a message for the thief who stole his late wife’s laptop filled with sentimental photos.
    A Lakeland man, grieving his wife’s passing, has spray-painted his garage door with a message for the thief who stole his late wife’s laptop filled with sentimental photos.
  • VIDEO: Intense gator battle at Odessa golf course

    VIDEO: Intense gator battle at Odessa golf course

    Friday, July 25 2014 10:56 AM EDT2014-07-25 14:56:27 GMT
    YouTube imageYouTube image
    An amazing video of two big gators locked in an intense fight might have you wondering how something so dangerous could happen at a golf course. A golfer shot the video using a cell phone
    An amazing video of two big gators locked in an intense fight might have you wondering how something so dangerous could happen at a golf course. A golfer shot the video using a cell phone
  • 'Faces of Meth' program launched by Sheriff's office

    'Faces of Meth' program launched by Sheriff's office

    Monday, July 21 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-07-21 22:37:35 GMT
    'Faces of Meth' is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
    'Faces of Meth' is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

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