Saturday, March 22, 2008

Having a Blast on Spring Break

Dad to college-age son: “So, how was your spring break in Daytona?”

Son: “Dynamite, Dad….”

Three spring breakers were arrested after an explosion rocked two hotel guests from their bed and shattered the windows of their Daytona Beach Shores hotel room around 2:30am Friday.

Officers patrolling the Oceanside Inn on South Atlantic Avenue in Daytona Beach Shores heard a loud explosion early Friday morning. Several witnesses said the explosion came from the sundeck, located on the second floor of the hotel.

When officers first arrived, they found three safety windows had been shattered, along with a metal light pole that had been destroyed. They also noticed metal and glass debris scattered across a 100-foot area.

“The wife, she grabbed the kids and took ‘em to the bathroom and I hit the deck and looked out the window to see where it was coming from,” said vacationer Terry Morris.

The Morris family, from Kansas, thought maybe someone was shooting at them as glass shattered inside their hotel room.

“At this point, I had no clue what was going on,” said vacationer Dustin Morris.

Police said unreleased surveillance video from the hotel showed three hotel guests running from the scene. The guests, three college students, were identified as 21-year-old Timothy Bechtel of La Grange, Illinois, 21-year-old Christopher Romano of Dayton, Ohio, and 21-year-old Michael Bolt, also from La Grange. When officers contacted Bechtel, he was found to have a cut on his arm and he admitted to being involved in the incident.

Bechtel told police Romano had detonated a partial stick of dynamite while he and Bolt acted as lookouts. A search of the room the three were staying in found no other explosives.

“They’re really nice guys, they were just really drunk yesterday,” said spring breaker Dan McDonough. “We saw ’em before dark and they were so wasted that I don’t think they remember doing that.”

The three were charged with discharging a destructive device causing injury and property damage, a first-degree felony. Bond was set at $20,000.