Beer Can Sparks Scooter Crash

Shawn J. Soper
News Editor

OCEAN CITY – A Pennsylvania man was arrested on first-degree assault and other serious charges this week after allegedly firing a nearly full can of beer at a motor scooter on Baltimore Ave., causing the victim to crash and suffer multiple injuries.

Around 2 a.m. last Sunday, an OCPD officer on marked patrol heading north in the area of 26th Street observed a yellow motor scooter sliding into the intersection of Baltimore Ave. and 27th Street. The officer observed the driver of the scooter walking south on the sidewalk away from the area where the scooter had come to rest.

The officer observed the victim was bleeding heavily from numerous scrapes, cuts and abrasions on his hands, palms, legs, feet and ankles, according to the officer’s report. At that point, the victim laid down on the sidewalk near the officer and yelled in pain. The victim told police as he was heading north on his scooter on Baltimore Ave. near 26th Street, an unidentified individual in a parked pick-up truck threw a beer can at him.

The victim told police the beer can did not strike him, but did cause him to swerve in an effort to avoid it. The victim told police he lost control of the scooter as a result and the scooter fell over and skidded across the roadway and into the intersection. Ocean City paramedics were called to the scene and the victim was transported to the hospital for treatment of his multiple injuries.

While police were interviewing the victim, they observed a crowd of people at a pick-up truck in front of a nearby motel and the crowd dispersed when the officers approached them. However, three returned and told police one of their friends had thrown the beer can at the victim on the scooter. They told police they weren’t sure which of their friends had thrown the beer can, but said many in the group were staying at the Flagship Hotel nearby and provided a room number.

Ocean City Police went to the room in question and met with several individuals inside, one of whom provided a name of the suspect, later identified as Justin R. Vattilano, 23, of West Grove, Pa. Vattilano was not staying the Flagship Hotel, but police were able to obtain a phone number for the suspect because of an earlier interaction with police.

The officers called Vattilano and determined he was staying at a separate motel on 17th Street. Vattilano was reached by phone and agreed to meet with police. Initially, he denied throwing the beer at the motor scooter rider, but eventually admitted it, telling police, “I was stupid, I’m drunk.” Vattilano was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and other charges. He was later released after posting a $25,000 bond.