A physical therapist in The Villages has entered a plea in a hit-and-run crash that killed a woman on Rolling Acres Road.
Tara Rene Schiessle, 31, of Lady Lake, has pleaded not guilty to charges of leaving the scene of an accident involving death, leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury and filing a false insurance claim. Schiessle, a Lake Centre for Rehab physical therapist assistant, remains free on $42,000 bond which was posted by her parents.
Schiessle originally reported to her insurance company that she’d hit a deer on the night of Sept. 11. However, an investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol revealed that Schiessle’s silver Jeep Cherokee Sport hit 40-year-old Jamie Weinz as she was walking along Rolling Acres Road, not far from American Legion Post 347. Her male companion was also hit and was airlifted to Ocala Regional Medical Center with serious injuries.
Within 12 hours, Schiessle contacted her insurance company and claimed she’d hit a deer. Investigators obtained an audio recording of the initial call to the insurance company and noted that Schiessle appeared to sound nervous. She never contacted law enforcement.
Four days after Weinz had been declared dead at the scene of the Rolling Acres Road hit-and-run crash, FHP investigators received an anonymous tip that the vehicle they were looking for was in the parking lot of Schiessle’s apartment complex. The vehicle was impounded and a blood sample was taken from the front of the vehicle. Ultimately, the blood sample was determined to be a match for Weinz.
Weinz’s companion that night later told investigators they had been walking to Wawa at U.S. Hwy. 27/441 at County Road 466 in Lady Lake. He said Weinz was walking behind him when they were hit. He said the vehicle stopped momentarily, but even after he yelled at the driver, she kept going.