Driver is released after arrest in deputy recruit crash that sheriff called ‘deliberate act’
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says he knows a lot about the driver of the Dodge cruiser that caused a fiery crash, in which he was killed by deputies, including some injured deputies.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri on Thursday confirmed what had already been rumored: the investigation of the crash that occurred near deputies at the Sheriff’s Office building in St. Petersburg was a “deliberate act.”
Gualtieri explained that the driver, James Michael Sager, was driving a “very unique and dangerous looking” cruiser that would cause the crash.
“It was on an exit ramp from the Pinellas Expressway, on a concrete divider, and it was going to try to merge into a left turn lane,” Gualtieri said.
On July 19, 2015, as the crash was unfolding, Gualtieri called the driver to say the “vehicle was just traveling in a dangerous manner.” Gualtieri said the driver admitted to him he was on probation in a previous DUI case and was using the cruiser for home-based business work.
Gualtieri said he “assumed” the driver was a member of the St. Petersburg community as he was with the Sheriff’s Office, and that he did not believe him to be connected to any gangs. He said he asked if he was on probation in connection with the DUI arrest, and the driver denied that.
Gualtieri said that when they were on the phone, there was “no conversation” about the race he was driving. He said he asked him why was he driving in a dangerous manner, and the driver said he was on probation as a result of a previous DUI case. Gualtieri said he did not believe him and said he asked him to pull over on the exit ramp. Gualtieri said the driver