Law enforcement packs BBQ restaurant in support of hurt deputy

by: Danielle Avitable, Action News Jax Updated:

Hundreds of people packed a St. Augustine restaurant Friday to help raise funds for a St. Johns County deputy hurt in a motorcycle crash.

Even before the door was unlocked or the open sign was turned on, the owner of Woodpeckers BBQ said there was a line of people waiting outside.

It has been nearly a month since Deputy Tony Deleo was headed to a call when he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed into a tree. According to FHP, he was thrown off his motorcycle and struck a power pole.

His motorcycle was left mangled and Deleo was airlifted to the hospital.

"Love him, great guy, always a big smile, full of life, full of love, big muscles, tattoos, we love him. So it hurt our hearts when we heard about him," Woodpeckers BBQ owner Lisa Marston said.

That’s why Marston said she wanted to help him and his family out.

"We didn't have a lot of time to put a huge amount together, but we figured with the outcry from the neighborhood we'd be in good shape," Marston said.

Tables and seats were packed Friday as people poured into the restaurant. And a portion the sales will be going to the Deleo family.

"When one of our brothers in arms something happens, we all come together and try to help out as much as we can," Frank Garcia said.

St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Chuck Mulligan said Deleo is still receiving treatment and has a long road ahead of him in order to fully recover.

"It's great for any of us in law enforcement to see that the community supports us,“ George Harrigan with the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said.

Mulligan said that Deleo and his family appreciate all the support.