Man Attacked by Alligator as He Fled Police Speaks Out

Bryan Zuniga, 20, said he ran because he was intimidated.

By Alexandra Leon
|  Sunday, May 12, 2013  |  Updated 10:41 AM EDT
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Bryan Zuniga, 20, speaks to reporters about the attack.

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The man who was attacked by an alligator as he fled authorities is saying he didn't know he was being chased by cops and was concerned for his safety.

Bryan Zuniga, 20, was pulled over during a routine traffic stop for failing to stay in a single lane. Instead of facing officers, he jumped out of the car, kicked a hole into a fence and escaped.

"I didn't hear no 'this is the sheriff's department' or 'I'm an officer,'" Zuniga told NBC affiliate station WFLA. "I just heard someone say 'stop and come here.'"

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Authorities found Zuniga a few hours later at a nearby hospital being treated for alligator bites. He said he had jumped into the water and was swimming so long that he got becamse exhausted. That's when the alligator caught up to him.

"The moment his teeth and his jaws touched me, I was in a death roll and I was fighting for my life," he said.

And just how did he get away from the gator?

"I don't know. I must've poked it in the eye or I made it realize I didn't want to be gator food," Zuniga said. "I feel very lucky to be here and alive, and I know that I have my body parts still together, not my arm missing, or a finger or an eyeball."

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