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April 2010    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 36, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Diver Sues After Losing Legs

from the April, 2010 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Is it only a misdemeanor for a boat driver to speed into a dive flag zone, dismember a diver and then desert him? That’s the penalty Roger Nicosia, ironically an emergency room doctor, will get. After a year-long investigation of a hit-and-run boating accident that crippled diver Robert Murphy, 26, from Palm Beach Gardens, the Florida State Attorney’s Office charged Nicosia, 56, with a seconddegree misdemeanor charge for violating navigational rules. He faces a maximum of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

On January 9, 2009, Murphy was spearfishing near Port St. Lucie’s Sandsprit Park with friends off the Dykoke when he was hit by Nicosia’s 38-foot power boat, the propellers cutting up his legs. Murphy was airlifted to the hospital, where doctors amputated both his legs. Nicosia told investigators that his boat had propeller problems but the real problem was that he ignored the “diver down” flag on the Dykoke as he boated into its waters and sped away after the incident.

Murphy has filed a civil lawsuit charging that, besides entering the dive flag zone, Nicosia did nothing to render aid after the accident. Murphy dives today by using prosthetics but is still undergoing extensive rehabilitation.

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