Ohio man arrested for leaving scene of deadly boat crash near Vanderbilt Beach

Reporter: Taylor Smith Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:

Thursday, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission arrested James Allen, 75, of Ohio after they say he left the scene of a boat crash that killed 57-year-old Onofrio Sozio, who was swimming near Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park and north of Vanderbilt Beach in North Naples.

According to the arrest report, investigators believe Allen and his brother, John, knew they hit someone or something but instead drove the boat away.

Sozio was in the water near the edge of the swimming area roped off by buoys when he was hit by a boat they say Allen was controlling. Witnesses told investigators Allen turned the boat around and tossed a flotation device toward Sozio, then left the scene.

The arrest report says witnesses provided Collier County deputies with a photo of the boat, showing Allen and his brother on board.

CCSO issued a be on the lookout bulletin and found the boat minutes later at the Cocohatchee River Park Marina boat ramp.

FWC officers took over the investigation at that point and interviewed Allen.

According to the report, Allen admitted he had been operating the vessel at the time of the crash.

When crime scene technicians arrived, they discovered human remains attached to the lower end of one of the boat’s motors.

FWC then seized the boat and took it into evidence.

When asked whether he called 911 asking for help, Allen’s answer was redacted in the report.

Allen was booked into Collier County jail and has since posted bond.

Allen faces a charge for leaving the scene of a boat accident or injury without giving aid.

A court date is not currently available through his arrest summary.

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