Rescued tortoise recovering after being struck on busy California highway

A 95-pound tortoise dubbed "Highway Pete" is expected to make a full recovery after being struck by a vehicle on a highway.
(Cal Fire Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit via Tribune News Service)

An injured tortoise is being treated at a Lodi, Calif., veterinary clinic after being struck by a vehicle on a busy Calaveras County highway last week.

According to a Cal Fire Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit Facebook post, Adam Frese rescued the tortoise from the intersection of Highway 49 and Mountain Ranch Road in San Andreas after it was struck Wednesday. The tortoise had a cracked shell and deep gashes in its flesh.

The firefighter “understands that duty calls at peculiar times,” a department statement said.


“This was definitely a first for me,” Brandon Milo of Milo’s Misfits Reptile Rescue told Fox40. A Cal Fire crew responding to the incident contacted Milo, who runs a one-man rescue operation out of his San Andreas house, the station said. “There were fractures from corner to corner.”

The 95-pound tortoise was transferred to Arbor Pet Clinic in Lodi, where it was to undergo surgery and have its shell patched and secured with epoxy resin, mesh and fiberglass, and is expected to make a full recovery, Milo’s Misfits Reptile Rescue said it was told by the clinic’s Dr. Richard Turner.

“The former no name tortoise shall be called Highway Pete from now on,” a fundraising post said. “Hoping to pick Highway Pete up tomorrow. We may have found his owner!!”

Those wishing to donate toward the costs of his medical needs and aftercare can do so on Facebook. The campaign had already raised more than $4,000 as of Sunday night.

“I was not expecting this kind of support from everyone,” Milo told the television station. “Our community is amazing. This went way beyond Calaveras County was the crazy part.”