ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – A 25-year-old Tampa man faces a first-degree murder charge after authorities say he threw his 5-year-old daughter off a bridge on the approach to the Sunshine Skyway early Thursday morning.
A St. Petersburg police officer who was heading home just after midnight tried to stop a PT Cruiser that passed him going about 100 mph. The officer said the car stopped on the approach to the Skyway bridge and he saw a man get out and throw a child over the rail into Tampa Bay. The officer said the man then got back into his car and drove south.
Rescue crews arrived and pulled the little girl from the water. But Phoebe Jonchuk died at 2:44 a.m. at a hospital. Her father, John Jonchuk, was stopped by Manatee Sheriff’s deputies about 30 minutes later.
He was returned to St. Petersburg for questioning and was being booked into the Pinellas County Jail on Thursday morning.
St. Petersburg police spokeswoman Yolando Fernandez said rescuers tried to resuscitate the child.
Jonchuk also faces charges of aggravated assault with a motor vehicle on a law enforcement officer and aggravated fleeing and eluding police.
(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)