Police: Hawkeye Track Team Member Hit Man with Champagne Bottle

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By Aaron Hepker

IOWA CITY, Iowa - A member of the University of Iowa men’s track team was arrested last week after police say he hit another man over the head with a champagne bottle at a downtown Iowa City liquor store.

According to a criminal complaint, Iowa City police were called to Sauce, a liquor store at 108 E. College St., at 1:53 a.m. Saturday for a report of a man hit with a bottle. Upon arrival, officers found a man “bleeding profusely” from the top of his head and a shattered champagne bottle at his feet. The victim had a large cut on the top of his head and nose which required stitches and further medical attention, the complaint said.

The victim told police a tall, red-headed man hit him with a bottle as he was trying to leave the store after his friend had urinated in the store. The alleged attacker was still on scene and matched the description from the victim, police said.

Police said the suspect, who was identified as Graham C. Valdes, 22, of 711 Melrose Ave., allegedly admitted to officers he hit the man with a champagne bottle. Valdes said he hit the man because he was pushing past people to leave the store and he felt threatened.

Multiple witnesses saw Valdes hit the man with the bottle, but never saw the victim assault Valdes, police said.

Valdes is listed as a senior high jumper on the Iowa men’s track team. He holds the seventh best high jump all-time at Iowa for indoor high jump and the sixth best high jump all-time at Iowa for outdoor high jump.

Valdes was charged with assault causing bodily injury, a serious misdemeanor.

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