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USC football: Linebacker Simione Vehikite facing felony counts

March 06, 2012|By Gary Klein

Simione Vehikite, a reserve linebacker for USC, was arrested last month and faces felony charges related to an incident that occurred in July 2011, law enforcement records show.

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department website, Vehikite, 21, was arrested Feb. 6 in Inglewood. A court date to schedule a preliminary hearing is set for March 19, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said.

According to the felony complaint, on or about July 16, 2011, Vehikite was allegedly the driver of a vehicle involved in an incident that resulted in him facing four counts: leaving the scene of an accident; driving under the influence and causing injury; driving with a .08% blood alcohol level and causing injury; and identity theft.

Vehikite, 5-foot-11 and 225 pounds, played in 12 games and made six tackles last season as a third-year sophomore. USC opens spring practice Tuesday. Vehikite is not on the roster.

"Immediately after [USC officials became] aware of the situation, he was removed from all team activities and has not been involved since then," Coach Lane Kiffin said during a campus interview Tuesday. "Simi has hired an attorney, and we will have no comments on the situation while we let it work through the process."

Kiffin said Vehikite was still attending classes and his status in the football program would be evaluated at a later time.

Vehikite could not be reached for comment.

If Vehikite does not return to the program, USC would have 76 scholarship players on its roster. Because of NCAA sanctions, the Trojans can have a maximum of 75 in the fall.

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