MARTIN COUNTY, FL — An emergency room physician will face a misdemeanor charge in a boating accident that crippled a Palm Beach Gardens man, officials announced Thursday. The State Attorney’s Office charged Roger M. Nicosia, 56, of Stuart, with violating navigational rules following a yearlong investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The offshore boating accident happened Jan. 9, 2009, about 4 1/2 miles northeast of the St. Lucie Inlet. Robert Murphy Jr. of Palm Beach Gardens was diving when he was struck. “Being run over by Dr. Nicosia and losing both of my legs has had a devastating effect on my life,” Murphy said in a statement released Thursday. “I was an active, athletic person and it has been very hard to lose that part of my life. I am struggling with constant pain and have undergone the loss of my job and my income.” Nicosia faces a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine, FWC said.
Nicosia is an emergency room physician at Martin Memorial Medical Center North, officials there said. He could not be reached for comment Thursday. Murphy has filed a civil suit. In it he alleges Dr. Nicosia came into his dive flag zone and did nothing to render aid after the accident. "I've gone through a ton of pain and anguish and the mental anguish on me and my family has been really devastating. And it's taken a long time to get through, and hopefully the justice system will give us some closure to the situation," he said. “I appreciate the work that the FWC and State Attorney’s Office has done on this case, and I hope Dr. Nicosia is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and receives the most severe penalties allowed under this charge,” Murphy said. “I look forward to my day in court.” Despite losing his legs one year ago, Murphy continues to dive by using prosthetics to propel his body through the ocean, he said. He continues to undergo extensive rehabilitation. Murphy was a recruiter for the health care industry prior to the accident.
FFlorida Statute 327.30(5) states:
It is unlawful for a person operating a vessel involved in an accident or injury to leave the scene of the accident or injury without giving all possible aid to all persons involved and making a reasonable effort to locate the owner or persons affected and subsequently complying with and notifying the appropriate law enforcement official as required under this section. Any person who violates this subsection with respect to an accident resulting in personal injury commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
*****UPDATE AS OF 8/18/2010****
STUART — Robert Murphy broke down in tears late Wednesday morning after Martin County Judge Kathleen Roberts ruled a Martin County emergency room physician violated navigational rules during a 2009 boating accident that cost the diver his legs.
Roberts, in front of a packed courthouse, found Roger Nicosia, 58, guilty of the second-degree misdemeanor.
“I do find that there was indeed a violation,” Roberts said in pronouncing Nicosia guilty.
After hearing from Murphy and his parents in an emotional address to the court, she sentenced Nicosia to six-months of probation, and ordered him to pay a $250 fine and $900 for the cost of prosecution.
We believe that Martin Memorial Hospital Emergency Trained Physician Roger Nicosia should have his license revoked for allegedly failing to render medical aid to his victim.
We also believe that this Roger J. Nicosia is not someone we would trust to save our lives or the lives of our loved ones.
We believe that Roger Nicosia should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and receive the stiffest penalties allowed under this charge.