Veteran killed in crash leaves behind dogs in need of adoption

Published: May. 9, 2022 at 5:36 PM EDT
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A suspect remains in jail after a deadly hit-and-run crash in Palm Beach Gardens in March.

The victim, a 68-year-old Vietnam War veteran who served in the Navy, died weeks later from his injuries.

Family members are now asking for justice and help from the public to adopt the man's precious pets.

The victim's son, Mike Valiquette said his father, John Valiquette of West Palm Beach, was riding his motorcycle on Northlake Boulevard east of Interstate 95 when he was hit by a car.

"For whatever reason, my dad was on Northlake [Boulevard], probably going to get some food or visiting people," Mike Valiquette said.

He said his father was on his motorcycle when he was hit by a car March 24.

"It hit him from behind on the motorcycle and knocked him into another car," Mike Valiquette said. "And from that, I don't know what happened to him, but I know the driver then fled."

His dad was critically injured in the collision and died from his injuries a month later.

Palm Beach Gardens police found the driver involved in the wreck, Travis Anthony LeBlanc, and arrested him April 29.

He said he wants justice, but he wants people to remember his father.

"When he would go to the Vietnam memorials or the Memorial Day event, he's (went) for the veterans that couldn't make it home," Mike Valiquette said.

He said his dad had four dogs. Two have already been adopted, but two others are still looking for homes.

"We have two left over at Palm Beach Animal Care and Control. Banner the boxer mix and Batman the Shepherd mix," Mike Valiquette said.

He has pets of his own and lives in Georgia, but hopes someone will adopt his dad's dogs.

"If anybody out there has room or a heart for a dog that just needs a home, due to unforeseen circumstances, tragic events, it would help us out a lot," Mike Valiquette said.

As the family plans a celebration of life, he shared one of the last text messages he got from his dad.

"Since I had my daughter, he's been overjoyed at being a grandfather, demanding pictures every day on the texts," Mike Valiquette said. "One of the last text exchanges that I had with him was two days before and it was a nice picture of my daughter in the front yard."

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