Dad in custody, girl dead after being thrown from Florida bridge - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Dad in custody, girl dead after being thrown from Florida bridge

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John Jonchuck Jr. HCSO photo John Jonchuck Jr. HCSO photo
ST PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) - A 5-year-old girl is dead after police said a man threw her over the side of the Dick Misener Bridge in St Petersburg early Thursday morning. Police have a suspect in custody. He is the girl's dad.

His name is John Jonchuck Jr, 25. He is from Tampa. He has a few prior domestic battery arrests in Hillsborough County and a non-domestic battery arrest in Pinellas.

According to the St. Petersburg Police spokesperson Yolanda Fernandez, just after midnight, as a St. Petersburg Police officer was heading home, southbound toward the Skyway Bridge, a Chrysler PT Cruiser passed him going about 100 miles per hour.

The officer turned his lights on to stop the car. When the car was near the top of the Dick Misener Bridge on the approach to the Skyway, the officer saw the driver stop and throw a child over the side of the rail into the water.

The driver got back in the car and drove south, and was eventually stopped by Manatee County authorities about 30 minutes later near the University Parkway exit.

The search immediately began to locate the child. When officials found the baby, they tried to save her life, but it was too late.

"It's unfathomable I mean and officers see all kinds of things but it's still very difficult to see something like this unfold before your eyes what could make someone throw someone over a railing let alone your own child? How could you possibly understand that?" Fernandez said.
Police say the girl was alive when she was thrown. She fell about 62 feet to her death.

The southbound Interstate 275 lanes have reopened near the bridge. The US Coast Guard is involved. Jonchuck was transported to the Pinellas County Jail. He is charged with first degree murder, aggravated fleeing and eluding and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle on a law enforcement officer.

Read more at WFLA's website.

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