Man arrested in connection with death of football dribbler

SwansonFifty-two year-old Scott Von Hiatt has been arrested and will be charged with the death of football dribbler Richard Swanson.

Swanson was attempting to dribble his football from Seattle to Sao Paolo in Brazil in time for next June’s World Cup. The 42 year-old however died last month after being struck from behind by a truck in Lincoln County in the state of New Mexico in a hit and run incident.

Swanson’s epic trek would have taken him through 11 countries on a journey of just north of 10,000 miles but instead he ended up not even leaving his own country. The blue football Swanson was carrying with him was found by local police at the scene. Swanson was still alive when found by police but he died shortly after admission to hospital on 14th May.

During his journey which had only started 11 days earlier before it finished, Swanson stayed two nights in Washington with his son, Devin, but otherwise had slept on the couches of one stranger after another who befriended him and helped him on his way.

Hiatt was remanded on bail early this week on a bond of US$50,000 while he awaits trial. The day of his death, Swanson posted a video on his Facebook page that shows him walking along the beach, kicking his blue football. He said he was looking forward to the remainder of his journey.

In an ironic interview with a Seattle TV station, Swanson joked that he hoped he wouldn’t be swept off the coastal road and into the ocean.

Hiatt, of Neskowin, was arrested on Monday on a charge of criminally negligent homicide, a crime which is punishable with a sentence similar to manslaughter charges.

In an interview with the Daily News newspaper in Washington, Swanson had said he was a private investigator looking for an adventure while between jobs. An avid runner, he started playing soccer five years ago and played on club teams and supported MLS outfit Seattle Sounders. He stated that the endeavour was “a trip of a lifetime where I will push myself further than I ever thought possible.”

A friend of Swanson told NBC that he had been a private investigator for many years and switched to a new career as a graphic designer, but was laid off recently and went looking for an adventure.

“He had raised his kids,” the friend said. “Both his boys had graduated from high school. He had no mortgage. He had sold his condo recently and was between jobs.

“He loved soccer. He stumbled on this great organisation, One World Futbol, and decided that would be his passion for the next year.”

According to ESPN, Swanson started his journey on 1st May and was “partly promoting the Berkeley, California-based One World Futbol Project, which donates durable blue balls to people in developing countries.”

According to the Associated Press, Swanson was mowed down at about 10 a.m. local time while walking along U.S. Highway 101 near the outskirts of Lincoln City.

Swanson was recently divorced, unemployed and lived with his girlfriend at the time of his death.


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