One look at the bites on his face and arms, and it's clear Bryan Zuniga is lucky to be alive.
"I I thought I was going to die," he said from jail.
His face-to-face encounter with an alligator never should have happened. He was running from a deputy after a traffic stop. He claims he didn't know it was a law enforcement officer at first.
"He told me to stop. I didn't know who it was until I jumped the fence, saw it was a cop...and I was like dang I gotta keep running...I panicked," he said.
That decision to run ultimately led him to a waterway in Pinellas County. He was swimming, hiding out when all of a sudden a six to eight foot gator attacked him. He was in for the fight of his life.
"My head and my arm was stuck in his jaw but my right hand and legs were loose so I was able to use both legs and arm to fight," he described.
The battle lasted less than a minute, but left Zuniga in the hospital. From there, he'd go to jail.
His story, however, would go national.
"Life is about choices. Gotta make the right choices...I'm not a bad person," he told FOX 13's Josh Cascio.
This isn't his first time in jail. He says after what he's gone though, he's going to focus on turning things around.
"I just want to thank God and hopefully my future turns around and I can better myself," he said.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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