Popular Davis athlete dies of injuries

By April 16, 2011

Scott Heinig, 22, died Sunday afternoon from injuries suffered in a fall at a post-Picnic Day party, according to family members.

The Davis High School and UC Davis graduate hit his head Saturday evening after apparently stumbling or falling during friendly horseplay at a gathering of eight to 10 people at the home of friends in the 1000 block of Fifth Street.

Heinig was a Davis High, Cosumnes River College and UC Davis baseball standout and was serving as a volunteer pitching coach for his alma mater Blue Devils.

“We’re not sure of the circumstances,” Davis police Lt. Paul Doroshov said Saturday night. “We’re still investigating, but we do believe alcohol was a factor.”

Speaking by phone from the hospital, one friend said she knew only that Heinig had been outside just after 8:30 p.m. on Saturday when someone rushed in and said, “Scott fell and hit his head,” at which time she phoned 911.

Earlier in the day, according to another person at the scene, Heinig attended the Aggies’ baseball game against visiting Cal State Bakersfield at Dobbins Stadium.

A 2006 Davis High graduate, Heinig was a personable young man who had “tons of friends … so many people whose lives he impacted,” DHS baseball coach Dan Ariola said Sunday afternoon.

Ariola and dozens of coaches, parents, friends and teammates created a steady stream of folks paying respects to Heinig at the Davis High baseball stadium Sunday.

At one point, Heinig’s mother Jane and sister Adrienne briefly came to the ballpark, having heard of the outpouring of affection for Scott.

A commemorative bonfire is planned for later Sunday at Explorit Science Center, 3141 Fifth St., and Davis High baseball players will meet Monday morning with district grievance counselors.

The Blue Devils are scheduled to make a trip to the Fresno Easter Classic Monday through Wednesday. Ariola says that trip is still up in the air.

“We’ll know tomorrow, for sure, if we’re going,” the 16-year varsity mentor told The Enterprise.

Family members say plans are in the works for a memorial service.

Doroshov said that as of about 2:45 a.m. Sunday, citations at other house parties looked to be down from last year’s Picnic Day. Bars downtown ran largely at capacity, with long lines snaking outside most of them.

That drinking fueled ample trouble.

“We had a number of fights and a number of public intoxications, ” Doroshov said. “We ran probably two vans back and forth to the jail all night long. We’ll have to calculate the numbers, but we’ve had a lot of disorderly behavior.

“We had a lot more officers this year, though, so any disturbance or fight that started up, we were on it pretty quick.”

Davis and UCD police received help from seven other agencies, including the California Highway Patrol, which lent 10 officers, and even the Department of Fish and Game.

“If it wasn’t for the outside agencies, I don’t know what we would have done,” Doroshov said.

Beyond Heinig’s injury, Doroshov said he was not aware of anyone else being seriously injured.

Today’s Davis police log shows officers received a steady stream of calls for service throughout the day, many of them involving noisy parties, drunken revelers, verbal disturbances and a few physical fights.

There were no indications of violent party scenes that marred Picnic Day festivities in years past, though UC Davis police did request assistance in clearing out a gathering of 200-plus people on First Street at around 2:45 p.m. Later that day, someone on Stanford Drive reported seeing drunk partiers on a rooftop and “girls with no underwear,” according to the police log.

Moments earlier, a resident of Harvard Drive summoned police to remove a couple having sex in the caller’s garage.

There were some violent moments, however, including an 18-year-old man who arrived at the Sutter Davis Hospital emergency room shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday after being assaulted in the face by a known suspect, though he refused to press charges.

At about 7:30 p.m., police were called to handle a woman who had punched another woman in the face at a G Street establishment, then refused to leave the business. On Russell Boulevard, a man riding a bike stopped long enough to hit another man in the face shortly before 3 a.m. Sunday, but the victim refused medical aid or any further police action.

The police log listed 26 arrests made or citations issued — a fraction of the 20-plus arrests and 65 to 75 citations city police said they had recorded as of Saturday evening. Most involved public intoxication, drunken driving or noise violations, while several others were for misdemeanor battery, fighting in public and petty theft.

Both Davis and UC Davis police said they planned to release their final Picnic Day statistics early this week.

At a late-afternoon press conference on Saturday, when the on-campus event was wrapping up, UCD police and students struck an upbeat chord. They said that they were pleased with what at that point seemed like a much calmer, more responsible crowd this year.

Following last spring’s record number of citations, arrests, police calls and violent incidents — most alcohol-related — the goal this year was to put an end to the drunken debauchery and reinforce the event’s original family-friendly purpose.

UCD Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Fred Wood credited the Associated Students of UC Davis for conducting an extensive outreach and education campaign telling students to behave or risk losing Picnic Day for good.

The fraternities and sororities also agreed to act responsibly, taking parties inside and in back yards, which made them more controllable, Wood said.

As for the out-of-towners, whom many in Davis blamed for last year’s madness, ASUCD Picnic Day Chairman Charlie Colato speculated that UCD students probably were more conservative about using social media to spread news of parties.

Event organizers also opted not to seek radio station sponsors, Colato said.

Additionally, there was stricter enforcement and greater police presence on campus and in the city, which issued doubled fines for citations in the “safety zone” — downtown and along Russell Boulevard — where the greatest number of incidents occurred last year.

Early estimates showed 20 arrests and 65 to 75 citations, Davis police Lt. Glenn Glasgow said around 7 p.m. Saturday. Accurate numbers will be available Monday or Tuesday, he said.

On campus, 77 citations were issued and six arrests made, UCD Police Chief Annette Spicuzza said at around the same time.

While the numbers were about as high as last year’s, both Glasgow and Spicuzza said that through early evening it was because of the greater police presence and strict enforcement.

The majority of arrests in the city to that point were for public intoxication, while last year’s arrests were for more serious crimes, Glasgow said.

Spicuzza said there were 19 calls for medical assistance on campus this year, compared to last year’s 11.

“There were a lot more officers out there. A lot of them on bikes, a lot of them walking, so they’re seeing more,” Spicuzza said. “I also think there was an education that was done successfully. … Students know that if your friends aren’t waking up or getting up or can’t walk, make a phone call.”

Wood admitted there were still many hours left in the day and crowds might get rowdy at bars downtown or various house parties throughout town.

“Picnic Day on the campus has gone extremely well. I don’t know if I’ve seen it go this well in many years — really terrifically well,” Wood said. “What we do now is we see how the evening goes, and then we’ll take stock of what happens and we take it from there. We are very hopeful; communication so far has been good.”

Many businesses throughout town had signed an agreement to, among other things, not sell alcohol before 11 a.m., not peddle drink specials, hold off on changing their normal seating before 10 p.m., add extra staff and halt advertising tying Picnic Day to drinking.

Some made dramatic changes, such as banning alcohol sales completely. Other businesses, like larger supermarkets, did not sign the agreement.

In downtown Davis, at around 8 p.m., there seemed to be as many people ordering food as there were ordering pints.

Katelyn Gallagher, 24, who was saying goodbye to friends after dinner at Sophia’s Thai Bar and Kitchen, said her group of friends had a few drinks. They went to a few Greek parties, she said, but they weren’t interested in getting trashed.

“Everyone was under control,” Gallagher said. “I think everyone’s kind of just like, ‘We’re not 18 anymore.’ We have to be responsible now.”

Gallagher is from New York and heard about Picnic Day through friends who go to school at UCD. She said she saw a few overly intoxicated people, but it was to be expected and she didn’t feel threatened.

Before news of the tragedy, J.A. Angel, from San Francisco, said he had not seen any hostility or fights break out. He said he thought the elevated safety measures “ruined Picnic Day.”

“Honestly, it’s been nothing but love out here — people I don’t even know coming up and hugging me,” Angel said, while standing out in front of Froggy’s at Second and G streets.

Angel, who has attended the event for years and graduated from UCD in 2003, said he probably will skip Picnic Day next year.

— Enterprise staff writers Bruce Gallaudet, Cory Golden and Lauren Keene contributed to this report. Reach Crystal Lee at [email protected] or (530) 747-8057.

Crystal Lee

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