Advertisement
  1. News

Police: St. Petersburg crossing guard struck, killed by impaired driver

Police say a witness saw Charles Walton, 21, drive erratically for several blocks before he struck and killed David Roundtree, 72.
Police say a witness saw Charles Walton, 21, drive erratically for several blocks before he struck and killed David Roundtree, 72.
Published Nov. 9, 2016

ST. PETERSBURG — A 72-year-old crossing guard for Mount Vernon Elementary School died Tuesday afternoon when he was struck and killed by an impaired driver, according to police.

St. Petersburg police said David Roundtree was setting up school zone cones shortly before 2:30 p.m. on Ninth Avenue N near 43rd Street in preparation for dismissal at the nearby school when he was struck by a Toyota Scion driving on Ninth Avenue.

The car hit a pickup truck before striking Roundtree, then struck a school zone sign and a small tree before traveling for several blocks, police said.

Roundtree was transported to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, where he was pronounced dead. He had been a well-loved crossing guard at the school for three years.

"We're truly saddened as a school community that this would happen to anyone," said Rob Ovalle, principal at Mount Vernon Elementary. "We'll keep his family and his friends in our prayers. We're truly sad."

Ovalle said he didn't have the opportunity to meet Roundtree personally, but said he is appreciative of the work he and other crossing guards have provided the school in keeping students safe.

"They provide an integral part of keeping kids safe," Ovalle said.

Ovalle said the school notified parents of the incident Tuesday night. The school will have counselors on hand today for students.

St. Petersburg police spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez said the loss has affected many officers in the department. Roundtree was well-known in the department to officers who recall pleasant interactions with him when driving near the school.

"Many of our officers said that when they drove by, he was always smiling and waving," Fernandez said. "He was known as a friendly face."

"Here is a man who was doing his best to keep children safe," she said. "It's very sad."

The driver of the car, 21-year-old Charles Hunter Walton, was arrested on a charge of DUI manslaughter. Fernandez said a witness saw Walton driving erratically for several blocks before hitting Roundtree.

Walton was tested at the scene, but Fernandez said it isn't believed he was under the influence of alcohol. However, she said Walton appeared to be impaired by some substance, though blood test results won't be known for some time.

Walton had an 18-year-old female passenger in the car, but police said she was not facing charges. Police have not released her identity.

Fernandez said Walton had a valid driver's license and is a St. Petersburg resident. He had a previous arrest for drug possession in Key West.

Roundtree's death was felt throughout the city. Kanika Tomalin, St. Petersburg's deputy mayor, shared her condolences on Twitter, calling Roundtree's death a loss for the entire community.

"To lose anybody, but especially a crossing guard who was working to protect children, to a DUI is just a tragedy that hits us all deeply," Tomalin said. "The city has certainly paused in remembrance and respect for the life we lost today."

Times senior news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Contact Times staff writer LaVendrick Smith at lsmith@tampabay.com. Follow @LaVendrickS

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Andre Clemens, 24, was arrested on two counts of attempted murder, discharging a firearm from a vehicle and being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to Tampa police. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
    Andre Clemens faces two counts of attempted murder. Tampa police have said little about the shooting near E Fowler Avenue.
  2. Richard Sajko of Valrico talks about how he killed one of the two bears on the back of his pickup truck in 2015 during the first Florida Black Bear hunt in 21 years at the Rock Springs Run Wildlife Management Area near Lake Mary. The hunt was so controversial that state officials have not held a second one. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
    But commissioners leave the door open for future hunts in next decade
  3. Frontier Communications this week launched tools to combat robocalls better. Pictured is a Frontier flag flies outside Frontier's regional office in Tampa in 2015. [Times file photo]
    The internet, phone and cable provider will help its customers better identify spam and fraudulent calls.
  4. Tampa Electric Co. customers will see a reduction in their rate for next year. Pictured is the utility's headquarters in Tampa in 2017. | [Chris Urso | Times (2017)] [URSO, CHRIS  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The reduction comes because of a drop in Florida’s corporate tax rate.
  5. James Dailey, 73, faces execution for the 1985 murder of 14-year-old Shelly Boggio. Left: Dailey at his 1987 trial, where he was convicted and sentenced to death. Middle: Dailey in 1993, when he was again sentenced to die. Right: The most current photo of Dailey on Florida's Death Row. [Times]
    In a series of written orders, U.S. District Judge William Jung rejected appeals from lawyers who argue James Dailey is innocent of a 1985 Pinellas County murder.
  6. FILE - This Nov. 1, 2018, file photo, shows the Google logo at their offices in Granary Square, London. [ALASTAIR GRANT  |  AP]
    Google search data reveals what topics people in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area were most curious about this year.
  7. An Air Force carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Navy Seaman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, of St. Petersburg, Fla., Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. A Saudi gunman killed three people including Haitham in a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) [CLIFF OWEN  |  AP]
    Foreign citizens are allowed to buy guns if they first get a hunting license
  8. This photo provided by Time magazine shows Greta Thunberg, who has been named Time’s youngest “person of the year” on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019.   The media franchise said Wednesday on its website that Thunberg is being honored for work that transcends backgrounds and borders.  (Time via AP) [AP]
    She rose to fame after cutting class in August 2018 to protest climate change.
  9. Javarick Henderson Jr., 13, seen on a video screen at his first appearance hearing on Wednesday. A grand jury indicted the boy as an adult on a charge of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his grandmother, and his case is now being handled by the adult court system. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
    Javarick Henderson Jr., 13, was indicted last week on a first-degree murder charge.
  10. The new Maydell Drive Bridge will be a multi-use bridge to cater to cars, bicyclists and pedestrians with travel lanes, 8-foot shoulders, and a barrier-separated 5' sidewalk & 10' trail. [Hillsborough County]
    Hillsborough County closed the bridge in December 2015 after an independent engineering study found it was structurally unsound.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement