Animal Call

Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Patrol Operations Bureau

Robert Dantschisch (Driver)
Age: 48
Date of Hire: 07/30/2018
Vehicle: 2013 Acura TSX

Dawn Dantschisch (Passenger)
Age: 46
Vehicle: 2013 Acura TSX

Pinellas deputies have identified the man responsible for driving over and killing a gopher tortoise at an elementary school in Dunedin.  

The incident occurred at about 3:20 p.m. on Saturday, August 11, 2018.

The incident occurred in the bus circle of San Jose Elementary School located at 1670 San Helen Drive, Dunedin

Pinellas deputies have identified the man responsible for driving over and killing a gopher tortoise in Dunedin.

On Saturday, August 11, 2018, deputies were called to San Jose Elementary School located at 1670 San Helen Drive in Dunedin, for a report of an injured gopher tortoise.

Deputies say a concerned citizen reported the injured tortoise found in the bus circle at the school. It appeared the tortoise had been run over by a vehicle. 

A representative from the Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife responded and took possession of the injured tortoise that later died.

Deputies obtained surveillance video from the school that depicted a light colored Acura TSX drive over the tortoise in the bus circle.  

On Wednesday, August 15, 2018, deputies placed the surveillance video of the incident on the Sheriff’s Office’s social media website in an attempt to identify the driver of the vehicle.

According to deputies, 48-year-old Robert Dantschisch, saw the video on television and he contacted the Sheriff’s Office to identify himself as the driver of the vehicle. Dantschisch has been employed by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office for approximately three weeks and is assigned as a school crossing guard for San Jose Elementary School.

Dantschisch told deputies that on Saturday, August 11, 2018, he drove his 2013 Acura TSX to San Jose Elementary School accompanied by his wife, 46-year-old Dawn Dantschisch.

Dantschisch explained that Monday was the first day of school and he was being assigned to San Jose Elementary School as a crossing guard. Dantschisch said in preparation for the first day of school, he and his wife were driving the route to his new school assignment and he wanted to confirm the school start and end times.

Dantschisch told deputies he drove into the school’s bus circle and stopped to see the school start times on the marquis sign. He proceeded driving forward but continued looking back at the sign when he ran over an object in the roadway. As Dantschisch continued driving forward he looked into his rear view mirror and saw that he struck what he thought was a tortoise.

Dantschisch said he did not see the tortoise until after he ran over the animal. Dantschish’s wife corroborated Dantschisch’s statement.

Deputies conducted a reenactment of the events at the scene and concluded that Dantschisch’s actions were accidental; there is no evidence to indicate that Dantschisch intentionally drove over the tortoise. There is no evidence that a crime was committed and the case is being closed.

Posted by Monday, August 20, 2018 1:28:00 PM Categories: Animal Calls

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