DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is working to identify the person responsible for running over a protected Gopher Tortoise in the Dunedin area on Saturday, Aug. 11. 

  • Driver who ran over Gopher Tortoise sought
  • Tortoise hit in bus circle at San Jose Elementary
  • Vehicle may be light blue or silver, with sunroof, 5 spoke wheels
  • Anyone with info to call 727-582-6200

Deputies received a call from a citizen who found the badly injured tortoise at the bus circle of San Jose Elementary School. 

Deputies were able to review the surveillance camera at the school and observed the driver slow down, and then come to a complete stop as the tortoise crossed the roadway. Once the tortoise crawled in front of the vehicle, the driver accelerated, running over the animal with the vehicle's left front tire, officials said. The vehicle continued through the bus circle and exited southbound onto San Helen Drive. 

The Gopher Tortoise is listed as a threatened species in Florida. Both the tortoise and its burrow are protected under state law. 

Officials say the vehicle is possibly light blue or silver in color, and is equipped with a sunroof and 5 spoke wheels. 

Anyone with information is asked to call Sergeant Kristofer Wendel at 727-582-6200 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS.