South Florida watercraft accident kills UF hospital CEO


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The 56-year-old CEO of UF Health Jacksonville died this weekend in an accident involving a personal watercraft vehicle.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officials say Dr. Leon L. Haley Jr. was ejected from a personal watercraft in Palm Beach Inlet on Saturday. He was found in the water wearing a life jacket and was taken to a hospital, where he died from his injuries.

Haley was lauded for his efforts in response to COVID-19.

The day before his death, he held a conference call with elected officials and community leaders in Jacksonville to report that the current wave of COVID-19 cases was not showing any signs of breaking.

Read the full statement from FWC:

“On Saturday, July 24, at 10:33am, FWC responded to the report of a personal watercraft (PWC) incident at the Palm Beach Inlet, South jetty, involving a 2021 10′ Yamaha PWC, operated by Leon Leroy Haley, DOB 11/06/1964, of Jacksonville. Dr. Haley was ejected from the watercraft and was located in the water wearing a life jacket. Dr. Haley was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital in West Palm Beach, where he was confirmed deceased as a result of injuries sustained in this incident. All of the members of the FWC want to express our sincere sympathies to Dr. Haley’s family, friends and his colleagues at the University of Florida Health Jacksonville. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of them.”