Close Encounters Man vs. Nature

Alligator helps officers apprehend fleeing suspect

During traffic stop in Florida, man jumps out of car, flees, gets attacked by an alligator, and is arrested at a nearby hospital several hours later

The alligator always gets its man, or at least it did in this bizarre case from Florida.

Alligator from us fish and wildlife service

Unidentified alligators react to the news about a cousin who nabbed a fleeing police suspect. Photos from Wikimedia Commons

A 20-year-old man was pulled over early Thursday morning for failing to drive in a single lane. Bryan Zuniga stopped his car, jumped out, kicked through a vinyl fence, and escaped pursuing sheriff’s deputies.

laughing alligator

An alligator made sure Zuniga didn’t get far, however. Near a water treatment plant in unincorporated St. Petersburg, the alligator attacked Zuniga, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Zuniga managed to escape the gator and make his way to a nearby hospital where he was treated for multiple puncture wounds to his face, arm, and armpit area. Authorities were then alerted to the alligator attack.

Once released from the hospital around Thursday at noon, some nine hours after fleeing, Zuniga was transported to the Pinellas County Jail and charged with breaking or injuring fences, fleeing, and eluding a police officer, driving with a suspended license, and resisting an officer without violence.

Unfortunately, the alligator will face charges, too, if it is ever apprehended. A Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission officer told Bay News 9 that any time a gator attacks a human it has to be caught and put down.

Mugshot-Bryan-Zuniga

Mugshot of suspect courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

Zuniga’s neighbors gave mixed reactions when told of the news of his ordeal.

“I don’t really know him or anything, but he’s my neighbor,” Jacob Uliase told Bay News 9. “I don’t want this dude getting eaten up by a gator.”

Devin Cook told the news station that Zuniga got what he deserved. “He should’ve just pulled over.”

“Ouch,” one unidentified neighbor told WPTV.com. “But when you do trouble, trouble comes to you. Karma! Karma comes back at you.”

And sometimes it has teeth.