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Criminal investigation opened into alleged attack on ASP officer by Strong football player

by Caitlan Butler | November 18, 2022 at 12:00 a.m.

State police are investigating an alleged attack on a special agent of the Arkansas State Police by a Strong High School football player.

ASP Public Information Officer Bill Sadler said Thursday that ASP Special Agent Mark Vavak "sustained serious injuries" last Friday night at a football game between the Strong Bulldogs and the Rector Cougars.

The Bulldogs, who were undefeated conference champions in the 2021 season, lost 26-0 at Cougar Stadium on Friday, ending their season.

"Vavak was allegedly attacked by a Strong-Huttig (Union County) football team player," Sadler said in an email. "He had been assisting the Rector school district athletic department as part of the sideline chain crew when the reported attack occurred."

Chain crews are responsible for managing signal poles noting important lines, such as the line of scrimmage and first down line, on the football field.

Sadler said Vavak was transported to a Jonesboro hospital for his injuries and later released, but remains on medical leave from work.

The incident is under administrative review by the ASP, Sadler said, and on Wednesday, the agency opened a criminal investigation into the alleged attack.

"Upon completion of the investigation, the criminal case file will be submitted to the Clay County prosecuting attorney who will determine whether charges should be filed against the student athlete," Sadler said.

Kimberly Thomas, superintendent of the Strong-Huttig School District, provided a few additional details about the incident. She said the game was called to an end with 1:22 left on the clock "due to unsportsmanlike conduct calls."

"Both teams responded inappropriately, and an unidentified State Trooper who was a part of the chain crew sustained injuries," she said in an email on Thursday.

She said district administrators and football coaches are reviewing film from the game "to determine what actually happened." From there, "the appropriate course of action will be determined."

"We are wrking with the Rector Police Department and (Arkansas Activities Association) through this investigation," she said.

Print Headline: Criminal investigation opened into alleged attack on ASP officer by Strong football player

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