Thursday, September 21

Tennis player steadily recovers

Suspect wanted on charges of assaulting Jake Fleming surrendered to police


Fleming Farzad Mashhood / Daily Bruin


UCLA men’s tennis player Jake Fleming, who suffered a traumatic brain injury on the night of June 13, has been making a steady recovery and was recently taken out of a chemically induced coma.

Fleming, a rising sophomore for the Bruins, was struck by a then-unknown assailant after leaving a Rascal Flatts concert in Dallas and fell on a concrete sidewalk, causing internal bleeding inside his skull. Fleming’s parents, Steve and Jodi, along with his sister, Ally, have been in Dallas since June 13 and have been updating friends and family via a Facebook group.

The 20-year-old Newport Beach native has made considerable progress, according to his sister. Fleming has been verbally responsive since he was taken out of the chemically induced coma on July 2.

“The hospital has not set a discharge date for him yet, but they are very impressed by his progress and are hopeful for a full recovery,” Ally Fleming said to the Daily Bruin in an e-mail. “It is still day by day, but next week, they should come to a discharge date.”

Most recently, Fleming left the intensive care unit on Thursday but remains in Baylor University Medical Center.

In the same e-mail, Ally Fleming shared optimistic words about her younger brother’s recovery.

“His attitude and courage throughout this entire situation has been amazing,” she said.

ASSAILANT CAUGHT AND RELEASED ON BOND: On June 22, police named Chancellor Jay Hutcheson, 18, as the person who punched Fleming. He was wanted on charges of second-degree felony aggravated assault, which, in the state of Texas, carries a sentence of up to 20 years with a possible fine of up to $10,000.

Hutcheson, a Plano, Texas native, surrendered to Dallas police on June 22; he was subsequently released on a $25,000 bond that same day.

“From what we understand, it was an unprovoked attack,” Dallas police homicide Sgt. Ray Beaudreault said to the Dallas Morning News on June 20.

In an open letter regarding the criminal proceedings, Hutcheson’s attorney, Jeffrey T. Hall, said that Hutcheson did not know the extent of Fleming’s injuries and fled the scene in fear of retaliation from the “other 5-6 young men.”

In the police report, however, one witness, who said she had known Hutcheson for four years, said that she heard Hutcheson “raving about hitting the guy with one punch” and saying that with “one punch the opponent fell to the ground.”

That same witness was reportedly present with Hutcheson before, during and after the attack.

Ally Fleming further stated in an e-mail, “… I feel (Hutcheson’s) actions speak for themselves, and we have complete confidence in the Dallas Police Department and legal system.”

No date for arraignment has been released.

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