NJ men accused of throwing lit firework in Beach Haven, LBI, burning woman
A pair of young men from North Jersey were arrested after a scary incident on Long Beach Island, in which police said a woman briefly caught on fire and was burned by a lit firecracker thrown from a moving Jeep.
On Saturday, 19-year-old Justin Liebhauser, of Randolph, and 18-year-old Gianni Aveta, of Wayne, were each charged with aggravated arson, in connection with the incident the night before in Beach Haven.
A 53-year-old woman entered the Beach Haven Police Department late on July 22 to report that around 10:15 p.m., she had been struck by a firework explosive thrown from the passenger side of a Jeep Wrangler.
She said she was walking on Pennsylvania Avenue when the firework exploded and hit her in the arm and rib area, causing her clothes to catch fire.
EMS were called to the scene and treated the woman for second-degree burns to her arm.
Around 11:30 p.m., Beach Haven police officers pulled over a Wrangler that matched a description given by the victim, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer.
Liebhauser was driving, with Aveta and three minors as passengers.
Investigators found that Liebhauser had also been driving the Jeep earlier that night, with Aveta and two minors as passengers.
At that time, Liebhauser handed a five-inch shell mortar fireworks to Aveta, who lit the firework and threw it out of the passenger side of the Jeep, striking the woman, Billhimer said.
Liebhauser and Aveta both have a pending appearance in Ocean County Superior Court.
According to online resources, a five-inch shell mortar firework is strong enough to launch 600 feet high when set off.
Aerial fireworks remain illegal for purchase in New Jersey, except as part of a permitted public fireworks display.