TAMPA, Florida -- The hunt is on. Police are looking for 43-year-old Alexis Yero for allegedly trying to choke his wife while she was driving.
Yero's estranged wife, Tania Martinez, lost control of her vehicle on Hesperides Street in West Tampa, hitting a curb and a fence. The force caused her vehicle to flip over the fence and stop just feet from a house. Neighbors heard the impact.
"I heard a squeaking sound and then boom, boom, boom," said one neighbor.
Police say Yero was hiding in the backseat, and from there launched his attack on Martinez, who was on her way to work.
"Somewhere along the way to work, he slung a rope right over the headrest and tried to strangle her. At that time, her first instinct is to grab the rope, obviously. She lost control of the vehicle," said Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Cristal Bermudez Nunez.
When Yero's alleged murder attempt failed, he took off on foot. Neighbor Tommy Todd watched. "He jumped across the fence and I could see he had his t-shirt in his hand. He ran up the street and this lady was like, 'Catch him! Catch him,'" said Todd.
Yero had reportedly fallen on hard times and was living in his vehicle in the parking lot of an apartment complex not far away. Resident Bryan Sepulveda's first interaction with him wasn't pleasant.
"We were burning some fireworks and he came out and wanted to start an altercation, but we avoided it," said Sepulveda.