Boca father searching for boater who hit son

By Al Pefley - bio | email

Dr. John DeLeonibus looks out at the waves with a nagging question on his mind. He wants to know why a boater would hit his, son who was snorkeling, and leave him in the ocean.

"Not only did he run over the dive flag. He ran over my son," said DeLeonibus.

The hit and run happened Labor Day weekend Sunday, September 5. That's when 22-year-old John DeLeonibus was snorkeling at South Inlet Park in Boca Raton with two friends.

"My son remembers the beach, and he remembers the ambulance. He doesn't remember coming out of the water," he said.

A beach goer, we interviewed, Labor Day weekend says she saw the whole thing. "We saw the boat come flyin' through, and he didn't even pay attention. There was a dive flag in the water and [the boat] just kept going," said witness Connie Maxey.

The doctor, who treated John, says he suffered a skull fracture, a broken hip and cuts to his head and back from the boat propeller.

Police say there were four to six people on the boat that hit John, and it was white with a blue stripe. The person driving was a heavy-set man.

The father is putting up $20,000 of his own money to add to the reward which until now has only been $1,000.

He says it's amazing his son survived. "He's coming along great. He's moved from a wheelchair, from a walker to a cane. At this point in time, he has a noticeable limp. But you know what? He's gonna overcome everything, God willing."

If you know anything, you are asked to call Boca Raton police at 561-338-1333.

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