DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — An alleged intoxicated father apparently threw his son into the ocean at 1 North The Beach to "teach him to swim" and then jumped off the Main Street Pier into the Atlantic Ocean, according to authorities.
- Joh Bloodsworth charged with aggravated child abuse, other charges
- Witnesses said he was doing backflips off Main Street Pier
- Child was deemed OK and his mother took custody of him
- He told News 13 the police got the number of beers he had wrong
John F. Bloodsworth, 37, of Daytona Beach is facing several charges, including aggravated child abuse, a felony, and disorderly public intoxication.
According to a Volusia County Beach Safety charging affidavit, a Daytona Beach Police officer was flagged down at 1 North The Beach at about 8:14 p.m. Monday, when witnesses reported seeing a man jumping off the Main Street Pier.
The witnesses told the officer they saw Bloodsworth carry his son into the ocean just north of the pier and throw him into in water about 4 feet deep, Beach Safety says in the report.
"The son could be seen struggling to tread water and making no progress in any direction towards shore or back to Bloodsworth. Bloodsworth was heard yelling 'go back' while making no effort to help the son," the affidavit stated.
The man was also seen doing backflips off the pier into the water, in a restricted area of the beach.
The boy eventually made it back to land, where bystanders reportedly dried off the crying boy and comforted him. Officers said the boy seemed to be physically OK.
"Just like several witnesses stated, it appeared the child did not know how to swim and appeared the child was in distress," said Volusia County Beach Safety Cpt. Tammy Malphurs, who suggested if a parent wants to teach a child to swim, it is best to take the child to a controlled environment like a pool with professionals.
Bloodsworth, with an "aroma of alcohol on his breath," spontaneously told the officer that he was teaching his son how to swim, according to the affidavit.
The officer informed him there were no lifeguards on duty at that time, there was a moderate risk of rip currents and the area was marked with signs that stated "no water activity between the sign and the pier," according to the affidavit.
Bloodsworth allegedly told the officer that he had five beers before going to the beach with his son, stated the affidavit.
The responding officer also found a small glass-smoking pipe and a clear plastic bag with a green leafy material in his bag, the affidavit said.
Bloodsworth told the officer that the substance did not contain THC. The substance was seized and will be tested.
When informed that the boy would be turned over to the Department of Children and Families, "the man stated he did not care where his child went since he was going to jail," the affidavit said.
Investigators soon contacted Bloodsworth's wife, who came to get the boy.
While being booked, Bloodsworth told officers that he would be "coming back to the pier to jump off every day" and that he was "going to jail for being awesome." He also said he wanted to bring his daughter to jump with him next time.
Because of those statements, he was issued a Volusia County trespass notice.
In an interview with Spectrum News 13, Bloodsworth said he was never intoxicated and knew exactly what he was doing at the beach Monday.
“I was teaching him about the rip current. I would toss over a wave, I would hold him over a few waves, toss him over a wave. I would I get him back. I was never 6 feet away,” Bloodsworth said.
He disputes allegations by witnesses that he threw his son into the waves and he struggled to stay above water. The affidavit says his son is 5, but Bloodworth said he's actually 6.
"He’s been swimming and swimming his entire life. He’s 6 years old," Bloodsworth said. "I knew what was going on the entire time."
He also was adamant that he was sober during the incident.
"I was not intoxicated," he said, alleging that he was not given a Breathalyzer test but was on medical marijuana.
Bloodsworth is upset that he is being "vilified" on social media for having safe fun in the surf.
"I’m allowed to have a few beers and go to the beach," he added.
Bloodsworth also contested the affidavit, saying he only had four beers, not five. He claimed that everything that he said was twisted around by the police.
"It is what they do," he said, adding his opinion that law enforcement twists the words of everyone regardless of race.
Bloodsworth did admit that he jumped off the pier, but it was because he had never done it before.
"I'm not a normal person," he said. "I have a tendency to do things I have never done before."
Bloodsworth was taken to the Volusia County Branch Jail.
Spectrum News 13's Kevin Connolly and Matt Fernandez contributed to this story.
John Bloodsworth allegedly told authorities that he was "going to jail for being awesome. (Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Resuce)