OKEECHOBEE — After an anonymous caller reported a traffic accident, an Okeechobee man was charged with DUI and resisting arrest. On March 12 at approximately 2:45 a.m., Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Deputy Horace Nicholson was dispatched along with Deputy Richard Varnadore to the Travelodge Motel on U.S. 441 Southeast in reference to a suspicious vehicle complaint.
When the deputies arrived, they found a silver van in the parking lot, and Justin Matteo, 34, was standing in front of it. According to the arrest report, Matteo denied driving the van, told deputies his mother owned the van and his friend was driving and began to walk away. Matteo refused to give his name, but after he was detained, he was identified using his driver’s license. In addition,his name was on the van's registration. The report notes there was a strong odor of alcohol on Matteo’s breath.
Because he had apparently been involved in an accident. Okeechobee County Fire Rescue was called to the scene and transported Matteo to the hospital.
Staff at the Travelodge provided video footage which showed the silver van traveling eastbound on U.S. 441 Southeast and striking the guard rail, causing significant damage before pulling into the parking lot of the motel.
A passenger in the van at the time of the accident reportedly told Varnadore Matteo was driving the entire time.
After his release from the hospital, Matteo was arrested. His breath test results were reported to be 0.125 and 0.121. His bond was set at $1,000.