June 26, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Settlement reached in gator attack

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — A Medina County Sports Hall of Fame standout who lost an arm in an alligator attack on a South Carolina golf course won an out-of-court settlement.

James Wiencek, 79, was playing the 11th hole of Fripp Island’s Ocean Creek Golf Course in 2009 when he reached down to pick up his ball. He was attacked by a 400-pound alligator that dragged him into a pond.

The arm was recovered but could not be reattached.

The terms of the settlement with Fripp Island Resort Inc. were not disclosed. The case was handled in federal court and did not go to trial.

Wiencek could not be reached for comment.

His attorney, Mark Chappell, said his client was not warned about the alligators, which the resort’s documents show routinely were fed by visitors.

Resort attorney Laura Evans only would say that the company wishes Wiencek well.

Wiencek was the star running back for the 1950 Liverpool High School football team that was ranked No.1 in Ohio and 14th nationally by the Six-Man Football Annual. That publication was considered the bible of the sport played by thousands in small towns all over the country.

Coach Craig Dowler’s team was inducted into the Medina County Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.

The 5-foot-8, 175-pound Wiencek led the Flying Dutchmen to an undefeated season in which they outscored opponents 149-20 in first halves, crushed Ashland County League champion Hayesville and upended fellow Medina County kingpin Granger-Sharon in a thriller at Wadsworth’s Grandview Stadium.

Wiencek, who scored nine touchdowns in the 58-31 win over Hayesville, is the all-time leading scorer in Medina County six-man football history.

Teammate Ralph Tumbush said of Wiencek, “I loved to block, but I would come home with cleat marks on my back. He would run over everybody, including me.”

After his playing career concluded at Defiance College, Wiencek worked for the Ford Motor Co. and as a regional manager for All-State Insurance.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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