by Andre Senior, WTSP-TV (Tampa, Fla.)
FLORIDA - "Taking a bite out of crime" lives up to its meaning after a Pinellas Park man comes face-to-face with an alligator.
It started as 20-year-old Brian Zuniga was being pulled over by a Pinellas County Sheriff's deputy just before 3 a.m. Thursday for failing to maintain his lane.
"I left to go to work early this morning and I saw a bunch of deputy cars down on one of the cul-de-sacs," said resident Darren Davis.
At some point during the traffic stop, the 20-year-old jumped out of the car he was driving through the passenger side, and bolted.
The deputy lost him when he slipped under a fence near a lake on Westchester Blvd. and 71st St. N.- where Zuniga would soon learn the hard way that it's infested with alligators.
Authorities caught up Zuniga a few hours later -- at the hospital, where he was being treated for multiple puncture wounds to his face, arm and armpit.
Zuniga told deputies a gator attacked him near a water treatment plant in unincorporated St. Petersburg.
He was later released from the hospital and taken to the Pinellas County Jail without further incident.
Among the charges Zuniga is facing, fleeing and eluding a police officer, driving with a suspended or revoked license and resisting an officer without violence.
No word on what became of the alligator.