Florida Man Attacked by Gator After Fleeing Police

By Alexa Valiente

May 10, 2013 12:33pm

A Florida man allegedly felt the bite of the law when he ran from cops.

Deputies pulled over Bryan Zuniga, 20, from Pinella Park, Fla., for failing to maintain a single lane early Thursday morning, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Zuniga brought the vehicle to a stop and jumped out of the passenger side door, according to the sheriff’s office. He then broke a vinyl fence by kicking a hole into the fence line for him to escape and was able to flee from deputies, the sheriff’s office said.

That afternoon, Pinellas County deputies were notified by the St. Petersburg Police Department of a man at a hospital who had been attacked by an alligator in their jurisdiction, Cristen Rensel, Pinella County Sheriff’s Office public information officer, told ABCNews.com.

When deputies from Pinellas County arrived at the hospital to investigate, Rensel said,  ”We identified him as the one we were looking for.”

Zuniga, 20, was being treated at the hospital for multiple puncture wounds to his face, arm and armpit area, according to the sheriff’s office.  He was able to elude police by hiding near a water treatment plant in unincorporated St. Petersburg when he was attacked by an alligator, he allegedly told deputies.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission opened an investigation into the incident.

“It certainly bit him,” Gary Morse spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission told ABCNews.com. “It could have been defensive bites.  Alligators don’t normally attack people.”

As of now, Morse said the investigation has been closed and the alligator won’t be trapped. “We don’t know what the circumstances were,” Morse said. Investigators were unable to find the alligator, and the owner of the land has not requested its removal.

Zuniga is charged with breaking or injuring fences, fleeing and eluding a police officer, driving with a suspended/revoked and resisting an officer without violence.

He is currently being held at Pinellas County Jail.

 

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