Daytona Beach, FL – Witnesses say a 37-year-old man was doing backflips off the Main Street Pier while his son was struggling to stay afloat in the surf.
Volusia County Beach Safety says just after 8 p.m. on Monday (July 15th), an officer with the Daytona Beach Police Department was flagged down about a man who was jumping off of the pier into the ocean.
That man was John Bloodsworth, who was detained by police shortly after they found him.
After he was detained, the officer was also contacted by several beachgoers and customers on the pier who said Bloodsworth was throwing his five-year-old son into the water.
VCBS arrived not long after and made contact with the officer, witnesses and Bloodsworth, while some witnesses attempted to comfort the child.
The child was crying, but he was standing on his own as people helped to try and dry him off.
According to the report, the officer told Beach Safety that Bloodsworth was doing backflips off of the pier while his son was struggling to swim in the water.
Bloodsworth uttered that he was “teaching his son how to swim.” The officer and Beach Safety noted that Bloodsworth was slurring his speech and smelled of alcohol.
Beach Safety also said in their report that Bloodsworth kept asking if he was going to jail and showed no concern for his crying son. He also wouldn’t provide a name for anyone who could come and pick his child up, according to Beach Safety.
When told that his son would be turned over to the Department of Children and Families, he said he didn’t care where his child was going since he was going to jail. After that, he continued to say that he wasn’t endangering his child by “teaching him how to swim.”
The Beach Safety officer told Bloodsworth that no lifeguards were on duty, there was a moderate risk of rip currents and he was in a designated no swimming zone.
Bloodsworth responded by saying that he couldn’t think of a better place to swim.
The son showed no signs of injuries or signs of near-drowning. He remained calm with the help of bystanders and witnesses who were concerned about him. After a few moments, the son was able to speak and converse with people on the scene.
Beach Safety searched Bloodsworth’s bag and found a small glass smoking pipe and a clear plastic bag with a leafy substance. VCBS does not have field test kits and could not distinguish if it was cannabis or not.
Eventually, Bloodsworth provided the name of his wife, who showed up on scene to take her son home with her.
Bloodsworth was arrested for aggravated child abuse resulting in physical and/or mental injuries, disorderly intoxication and swimming within 300 feet of a pier on a Volusia County beach.
While being booked, Bloodsworth said that he was going to come back to the pier every day to jump off and that he was “going to jail for being awesome.”
When instructed not to jump off the pier anymore, he said he would bring his daughter next time.
Jail records show that Bloodsworth is no longer in custody.