Deputies: Driver who hit tortoise was school crossing guard

- Pinellas County deputies say they know who drove over a known gopher tortoise in Dunedin earlier this month. 

Deputies released surveillance video showing the turtle, known to those at San Jose Elementary School as "Jose," being run over by the vehicle in the bus circle hoping someone would step forward to identify the driver. 

RELATED: Deputies search for driver who ran over tortoise

Deputies say the driver saw the video on television and called detectives to identify himself as Robert Dantschisch, 48. 

Dantschisch was a crossing guard at the school and has been an employee for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office for three weeks, deputies say. 

Dantschisch says he was driving the route with his wife in preparation for his school assignment and he told deputies he drove into the school's bus circle to stop and see the school start times on the marquis sign. 

When he drove forward, Dantschisch told deputies he ran over an object in the roadway while looking at the sign and saw in his rear view mirror that he struck a tortoise.

Deputies say his wife corroborated his account and say there's no evidence to show he intentionally drove over the tortoise and no evidence a crime was committed, so he won't face charges. 

The tortoise was taken to the Owl's Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife where he later died. Jose and his mate, Sandy, (for San Jose Elementary), have been such a part of life that administrators once posted, "Sandy and Jose, our resident gopher tortoises, wish you a happy summer!" on social media.

Up Next:


Up Next

  • Deputies: Driver who hit tortoise was school crossing guard
  • Pasco family wants county to step in after neighbor's dog attacked
  • Troopers hope pieces of car left at New Port Richey crash scene lead to driver
  • Woman tells Tampa court how ex stalked, abused her
  • Massive fever of cownose rays spotted off St. Pete
  • Another deadly crash along Siesta Key road
  • Presidents leave lasting legacies on Bay Area
  • Man wanted in 2017 DUI manslaughter crash extradited from Ireland to Highlands County
  • Farmer cutouts turn heads on I-4 through Plant City
  • Self-driving trucks already rolling on Florida highways