Lakeside Diner victim’s son, granddaughter hurt in crash during memorial motorcycle ride

OCEAN GATE – The son and granddaughter of the man fatally injured in a fight at the Lakeside Diner in Lacey were seriously injured here Sunday during a motorcycle procession in memory of the slain man, authorities said.

A third person also was injured in the crash during a motorcycle ride to pay tribute to Robert Clarke, the 78-year-old Manchester man who died after being punched in the face during an altercation outside the Lakeside Diner in Lacey in September.

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradely D. Billhimer confirmed details of the motorcycle crash, which occurred shortly before noon Sunday at Narragansette and East Bayview avenues here. 

He said a motorcycle ridden by Anthony Zuzio, 60, collided with one being operated by Shawn Clarke, who is Robert Clarke’s son.

Shawn Clarke, 55, of Houston, and his daughter, Caylee, 19, a passenger, were thrown from their motorcycle, authorities said. Both were flown by helicopter to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune.

Zuzio was transported by ambulance to Community Medical Center in Toms River, authorities said.

The crash forced road closures for sometime afterward, according to an alert transmitted by the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office.

Billhimer said borough police are investigating the accident.

The crash victims were among about 100 people participating in the motorcycle procession in memory of Robert Clarke.

The motorcyclists began gathering at 9 a.m. at Gille Park on Manchester Avenue in the Forked River section of Lacey. The ride started at 11 a.m. Plans were for the procession to pass by locations of importance in Robert Clarke’s life.

In a telephone interview from Houston last week, Shawn Clarke said his father was from Newark and resided in Ocean Gate for many years before moving to Manchester. Shawn Clarke said during that interview that he planned to attend the memorial motorcycle ride with his daughter and son, Michael, 28. 

Shawn Clarke said he, his son and daughter would lead the procession in honor of his father, whose lifelong passion was riding motorcycles.

Thomas DeLorenzo, a friend of Robert Clarke who organized the event, told the Asbury Park Press last week that the planned 20-mile ride was “our way of celebrating his life and saying goodbye.”

Robert Clarke had gone to the Lakeside Diner on the evening of Sept. 30 to listen to a bluegrass band when an argument erupted about a woman who had accompanied him to the diner being kicked out of a loosely organized motorcycle club known as the “Wawa Crew,” according to authorities and the victim’s son. 

The diner’s owner ejected the participants from the eatery, but the argument continued outside, authorities said.

Robert Clarke was having words with a man involved in the altercation when he was rendered unconscious by a single punch to the head delivered by another man, Edward Chandler, 54, of Manalapan.

Robert Clarke was airlifted to Jersey Shore University Medical Center and succumbed to his injuries the following day. 

Shawn Clarke said in last week’s telephone interview that his father was confronting a man about speaking crassly to his female companion when Chandler punched him.

“The victim was agitated but was not aggressive towards anyone,” police said in an affidavit.

Police said Chandler admitted punching Robert Clarke and claimed he heard someone say “knife” before he did. Chandler, however, said he did not see a knife, police said.

Chandler is charged with aggravated manslaughter and is free to await trial.

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Source: Asbury Park Press