WCSO: Driver stops on busy highway for turtle causing multi-car pileup

Published: May. 16, 2023 at 10:28 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Walton County Sheriff’s deputies said a huge turtle and a man trying to be a hero caused a multi-car pileup on Highway 331 in Florida.

The dash camera in the 18-wheeler that went plowing through caught it all. Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured but there were many minor injuries and likely totaled cars.

In the dash cam video you can see a man standing in the road, just outside of his Silverado truck. He came to a complete stop in the fast lane around 6:45 Tuesday morning.

He told deputies he stopped to save a massive snapping turtle trying to cross the road, but what he did was cause a dangerous chain reaction.

The semi, with no where to go, plowed through. It took a grey car along for the ride and slammed into the Silverado.

Walton County Sheriff’s Deputy Connor Gunn responded to the scene.

Gunn said, “It was a mess. The northbound and southbound lanes are blocked. There’s a flatbed truck, he’s across the median in both lanes.”

At first, Deputy Gunn said he didn’t buy the turtle tale. Then he saw the video.

“The semi driver ended up telling me he had dash cam video and I said ‘hey can we watch it?”. Sure enough, the turtle was there. That turtle looked like he had to be 4-5 feet in diameter and I was like ‘Oh my God!” said Gunn.

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office posted the video to its Facebook page with a warning not to stop in the middle of the road, even to protect Florida’s wildlife.

Gunn said, “I love animals just as much as the next person but I would advise against stopping and putting yourself in that much danger over an animal. Unfortunately, you can get seriously hurt or killed trying to move that animal. The best thing to do is, unfortunately sometimes, just stay the course.”

Deputy Gunn said somehow the turtle scurried along to the other side of the street and into safety.