Golf game turns hazardous for U employee

Sarah McKenzie

While playing a round of golf at the University course in Falcon Heights on June 17, the worst hazard University employee Jeff Johnson encountered was an incoming ball.
Paramedics rushed Johnson, a user services specialist in the Division of Epidemiology, to Fairview-University Medical Center after another golfer’s ball drilled him square on the forehead.
Mike Nelson, a University public relations representative, said he was more than 175 yards away from the third green when his ball crowned Johnson, who was standing on the fourth tee box.
Nelson and Johnson both commented on the poor layout of the course where Nelson’s ball beaned Johnson. Two greens and one tee box stand only 40 yards apart.
“I was just standing there waiting when I got cracked in the head,” Johnson said. After impact, he fell down but was not unconscious.
Nelson said he immediately ran to the clubhouse with another member of his foursome when Johnson fell down. “I really thought he was seriously injured,” Nelson said.
Two ambulances and two police cars arrived and rushed Johnson to the hospital in a stretcher and neck brace. He received nine stitches on his forehead.
Friday at work, Johnson said he felt relatively well. Headaches and vision trouble have not been a problem for him.
“It was very scary,” Nelson said. He said he called Johnson several times to make sure he was recovering from the injury.
In other police news:
ù Dr. John Najarian’s familiar face and a harmless collision landed his name back in the criminal record books.
According to police reports, Najarian, a regents professor of surgery, hit another vehicle while driving in a parking ramp located adjacent to the medical school on Thursday afternoon — then hurried off.
Lydia Seiber, an employee of HealthEast Clinics in St. Paul, later reported the incident to University Police. She told authorities she recognized Najarian as he hit the rear fender of her car in the Mayo parking ramp.
Najarian then got out of his car, entered the building and did not discuss the matter with Seiber, who was sitting in her car listening to the radio, according to the report.
Seiber refused to comment on the incident. Police reported no injuries or damages to her vehicle, and filed no charges.
Seiber told police she left a note on Najarian’s car. But Najarian contends that Seiber never contacted him or left such a note.
Najarian said he did not consider the incident important or worthy of a police report. He said he was shocked when he heard of the police involvement.
“It’s absolutely ludicrous that this is being called a hit-and-run,” Najarian said. He said police made him aware of the report two days later with a voice mail message.
Najarian said the Mayo parking ramp is always very crowded. He said he parked behind Seiber and his front bumper touched the back of her car.
Najarian, former chairman of the surgery department and tenured professor, was the center of a heated legal battle in 1995 stemming from charges of medical fraud and financial wrongdoing. Najarian was acquitted of all criminal charges.

ù Police arrested two men last Friday night outside of Fowl Play in Dinkytown for assaulting four other individuals.
According to police reports, Michael Kowalsky and Joseph Wagner caused “significant bodily harm” to three men and one woman outside of the bar.
Kowalsky and Wagner, who are not affiliated with the University, could not be reached for comment. Hennepin County Jail records indicate Wagner was booked on the morning of the incident and charged with third-degree assault.
Employees at the bar said the individuals involved in the fight were not patrons.
One employee, who asked not to be identified, said “six people jumped three people outside of the building.”
Michael Pintozzi, one of the victims named in the police report, could not be reached for comment. But his brother David said Pintozzi sustained bruises and cuts to his face. He also said his brother and another friend were allegedly defending a woman assaulted in the bar.