Scooter found on I-69 returned to Vietnam veteran

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The search for the veteran owner of an electric scooter found along the side of I-69 over the weekend is over.

Vietnam veteran Jerry Bell has been reunited with the electric scooter, which fell off the back of his car on Sunday afternoon. Bell traveled from his Brown County home Wednesday to meet the man who found the scooter and held onto it, Tony Cline.

“I know that he appreciates our military,” Bell said. “And that’s one of the main things, seeing that people appreciate the veterans like they do.”

Cline, who is a scrapper, says he saw the scooter on the shoulder of northbound I-69 near Anderson Sunday. At first, he says he thought about how much money the scooter could bring him.

“My initial thought, I was going to scrap it,” Cline said. “But then I seen that sticker, and it stopped me.”

The sticker he saw was a “Wounded Warrior Project” sticker on the front of the scooter. Cline realized the scooter must belong to a military veteran, which reminded him of his own grandfather who served in the Marines.

So he started searching for the scooter’s owner. After Cline contacted CBS4, we were able to work with the Veterans Affairs office, which quickly identified Bell as the scooter’s owner.

Bell says he traveled on I-69 to Muncie Sunday afternoon and had no idea the scooter had fallen off the hitch on the rear of his car until he arrived there. He didn’t know if he would ever see the scooter again, until he got a call from the VA office and his daughter saw our story about the lost and found scooter Tuesday night.

“I was scrolling through Facebook, and my great Aunt posted the article,” said Bell’s daughter, Misty Sampson. “And I responded ‘that’s dad’s!’”

Cline and Bell met up on the east side of Indianapolis Wednesday so Cline could return the scooter, and Bell could give his thanks.

“I’m just humbled knowing that he tried to get it back to the rightful owner,” Bell said.

“Just want to tell you I’m very grateful,” Bell told Cline. “I feel like a brother.”

Bell brought along a token of his appreciation; a homemade, patriotic display featuring flags for each branch of the military. It also features the POW flag, Indiana state flag and American flag. On top of the display sits a solar-powered light, designed to illuminate the American flag through the night. Bell says he makes the displays at his Brown County home and normally sells them at flea markets.

Cline accepted the display and already has a plan for where to put it.

“I’m thinking about going to put it on my grandfather’s gravesite,” Cline said. “I know he would be glad to have it.”

Both men left Wednesday’s meeting with something they didn’t have the day before, including a new friendship.

Officials at the Veterans Affairs office say if Bell’s scooter is too damaged to repair, they will issue him a new one.

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