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Substitute Phillies mascot charged with drunken driving

November 21, 1997

HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa. (AP) _ A drunken Phillies mascot crashed a Phanatic Bandwagon into a utility pole, then fled to his home, police said.

The accident occurred at 3 a.m. Thursday in Upper Southampton Township when Matthew Mehler, 32, a backup for the Philadelphia Phillies mascot, lost control of the Ford van, which ended up flipping onto its side, police said.

No one was at the scene when police arrived. Officers found the familiar green Phanatic costume in the van.

Phillies spokesman Larry Shenk confirmed that Mehler is one of two stand-in Phanatics, playing ``bank openings, bar mitzvahs and parties.″

``We have more than one smelly green uniform. And he wears one anytime we have more than one request for the Phanatic to appear,″ Shenk said.

Police Chief David Schultz said officers found Mehler at his Churchville home. Both were returned to the accident scene, and the friend, Dennis Casey, assaulted an officer, police said. Police used pepper spray to subdue Casey, according to Schultz.

Mehler told police he lost control after swerving to avoid oncoming traffic in his lane, authorities said. He was taken to a hospital, where he was treated for minor injuries and his blood was drawn.

He was charged with drunken driving and leaving the scene of an accident.

Casey was charged with aggravated assault on police.

Shenk said it was too soon to know whether the Phillies would take any action.

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