Thursday, February 8, 2001
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Posted on: Thursday, February 8, 2001

UH student arrested in golf ball incident

Advertiser Staff

A 19-year-old male student at the University of Hawaii faces assault charges in connection with a golf-ball injury to an Iolani School softball player at the state championship tournament last Friday at the Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.

Senior Amy Taniguchi lost one lower tooth, suffered damage to several upper teeth and had a cut lip, a school official said. Taniguchi was hit in the face by a flying golf ball while she was in the 'Iolani dugout waiting her turn to bat in the seventh inning of a state semifinal game. She was treated at the Queen’s Medical Center emergency room, where a doctor told her parents she narrowly averted much more serious injuries.

The student was arrested late Monday afternoon after he voluntarily went to Honolulu Police Department headquarters for questioning. Detective Rodney Noguchi said the man confessed that he hit the golf balls.

He was released about 40 minutes after his arrest, but faces a probable grand jury indictment after the investigation is completed, Noguchi said.

Noguchi, who was working as an off-duty security officer at the state tournament Friday night, said police found divots and other evidence near Johnson Hall, which overlooks the stadium. He said they traced one of the golf balls that landed on the field to the student, who is a resident of Johnson Hall. "We located witnesses who provided information that led to the suspect," Noguchi said.

"We believe he was the only one involved," Noguchi said.

Several balls landed on the playing field during the game and groundskeepers said some flew all the way over the stadium. Taniguchi was hit by a ball on the fly, Iolani coach Chris Shimabukuro said.

"This is a special girl and special family," Noguchi said. "She was upbeat and positive. They had no animosity and no vindictiveness. That really caught my attention."

Taniguchi declined comment.

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