Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Land O'Lakes man charged after Papa John's pizza delivery driver gets a scare

LAND O'LAKES — Jonathan Zakel set out to deliver a Papa John's pizza to the area known as Cypress Bayou — commonly known as just the bayou — a collection of mostly unlit rural roads with one way in and out. On this night, he felt uneasy.

A car pulled out of a driveway at 11 p.m. Jan. 16 and started following him, honking the horn. No headlights. It was raining.

The car behind kept honking. Zakel decided to abort the delivery and get out of the bayou. The car wouldn't stop. Zakel called 911 on his cell phone.

The car rammed him.


Zakel stopped — rattled and shocked, with his doors locked — and a skinny man in a white tank top jumped out of the passenger seat of the car that had struck him.

"I want pizza!" the man shouted, according to a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report.

The man pounded on the driver's side door, the window, the roof. Zakel said the man sounded as if he was high or drunk.

"Give me the pizza!" the man yelled.

Zakel thought about running over the man.

"I wanted to," he said. "But I didn't want to get in trouble."

The pizza-hungry man gave up and ran back to the other car, which took off. Zakel said the 911 dispatcher told him to head back to Papa John's on U.S. 41. A deputy met him there and took his statement.

On Tuesday, James Ryan Wilson, 22, was charged in the incident. Wilson lives at 7336 Moffit Road — the house where Zakel said he saw the car pull out and begin following him that night. A light blue 1982 Oldsmobile at the property had front-end damage, and Zakel picked Wilson's photo out of a lineup, the report said.

Wilson is charged with strong-arm robbery and criminal mischief. He was being held at the Pasco County jail on Tuesday in lieu of $10,150 bail.

The other suspect — the driver of the vehicle — is still at large.

Zakel's 24th birthday was Jan. 19, just three days after the attack. He told his family and friends that he didn't want to do anything to celebrate.

On Jan. 7, his condo in Land O'Lakes was burglarized. A thief stole his PlayStation, a laptop computer and a digital camera with photos from a Metallica concert. The thief also stole $1,000 in cash; half of it was for a washer and a dryer Zakel had been saving for, and the other half was a month's tips from delivering pizzas. He makes $4.23 an hour.

Zakel hadn't planned on delivering pizzas. He said he graduated from the University of South Florida in 2008 with a degree in criminology but was laid off from his job last year.

"I've had a really bad month," he said.

Erin Sullivan can be reached at or (727) 869-6229.

Land O'Lakes man charged after Papa John's pizza delivery driver gets a scare 02/09/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 9:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas County receives $30 million for beach renourishment

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– While Pinellas beaches continually rank among the best in America, they need help to stay that way.

    The Army Corps of Engineers has allocated $30 million to help with beach renourishment at several Pinellas locations, including including Sand Key, Treasure Island and Upham Beach. This photo from 2014 shows how waves from high tides caused beach erosion at Sunset Beach near Mansions by the Sea condominium complex SCOTT KEELER   |   Times

  2. Straz Center parking squeeze infuriates patrons, motivates search for solutions


    TAMPA — When the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts opened 30 years ago, it welcomed just 30,000 patrons its first year.

    Fireworks shoot into the sky over the David A. Straz Jr. Center For The Performing Arts. [SCOTT MCINTYRE, Times]
  3. Video shows naked man who stole swan sculpture in Lakeland, deputies say


    The Polk County Sheriff's Office is searching for a naked man who stole a large black and white swan sculpture from a Lakeland storage facility last weekend.

    The Polk County Sheriff's Office says this naked man stole a large black and white swan sculpture, upper right, from a Lakeland storage facility last weekend. Surveillance video showed the man walking into Lakeland Cold Storage. [Polk County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Fennelly: Dirk Koetter's apology no way to keep this fidget spinning


    TAMPA — It all began with a fidget spinner.

    This tweet from the Bucs, mocking the Falcons' 28-3 lead they lost in the Super Bowl against the Falcons, prompted a public apology from head coach Dirk Koetter, who called it "unprofessional and not smart."
  5. Jeb money trickles into Putnam's bid for governor


    Money from a Jeb Bush super PAC has made its way into Florida’s 2018 governors race.
    A year ago, Bush’s Right to Rise PAC put $1,171 in money