Jury hears from witnesses in trail for man accused of fleeing deadly Collier County boat crash - 96.9 WINK FM

Jury hears from witnesses in trail for man accused of fleeing deadly Collier County boat crash


The trial for the man accused of hitting a man with his boat and fleeing back in 2020 continued on Tuesday with the jury hearing from witnesses, including the victim’s family.

James Allen, 78, is accused of leaving the scene of a boat crash that killed 57-year-old Onofrio Sozio neat Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park and north of Vanderbilt Beach in North Naples on March 5, 2020.

MORE: Trial begins for man accused of fleeing from deadly boat crash in Collier County

The victim’s wife, Kim Sozio, told the jury her husband loved the beach and was a strong swimmer. She said on March 5, 2020; her husband said the boat was going way faster than it should and that it was headed toward her husband, and at first, she wasn’t sure it hit him.

Then she saw the boat turn around, and that’s when she said it became clear, the boat struck him.

A group of beach-goers who helped Sozio after he was hit also testified. Some are in these videos from that day showing the victim being hauled off the beach on a motorized paddle board.

Four former Florida Polytechnic University students said they were at Vanderbilt Beach when they say the defendant James Allen, and his brother wave them over.

This is what witness Tyler Garrison told the court he did next.

“I get to the boat, and that’s when I realize something is happening. I see the swimmer, and he is kind of holding on to the boat, holding onto a flotation device cushion,” said Garrison. “So I start to bring him to shore, and he’s telling me he feels nauseous and he’s going to pass out. So, I start to bring him to shore as quickly as I can. I start to feel the sand underneath me so I can start pulling him in a little faster, and at that point, I asked him if he could walk himself, so he could get to the shore faster.”

Garrison told the court that Sozio could not walk once they reached the shore.

A fundamental disagreement is whether Allen left the scene before or after Sozio got help.

Garrison said he believed the beach-goer who brought in the motorized paddle board was a firefighter and that Allen’s boat didn’t leave until Sozio was taken away.

Testimony continues on Wednesday.


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