Referee dies from soccer player's punch - WNEM TV 5

Referee dies from soccer player's punch

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An opposing player punched Beinewicz while he was pulling a red card out of his pocket to eject him from the game. (Source: Family photo/WDIV/CNN) An opposing player punched Beinewicz while he was pulling a red card out of his pocket to eject him from the game. (Source: Family photo/WDIV/CNN)

LIVONIA, MI (WDIV/CNN) - A referee of an adult soccer match died Tuesday after being punched in the head by a player.

Friends are mourning his death, and the man who threw the punch could face more charges.

On Sunday, he was working on over-30 men's game in Livonia. Scott Herkes, one of the players, said an opposing player punched Beinewicz while he was pulling a red card out of his pocket to eject him from the game.

“I saw the play as he cocked his arm and swung across his body and hit in head and neck area,” Herkes said. “There was a loud deadening thud and referee dropped to the ground.”

Police say 36-year-old Bassel Saad fled the area and was arrested later.

“In my mind, it was so unconscionable and so tragic, it's hard to process,” Kerkes said.

Last Friday, John Beinewicz sent out an email giving his buddies the latest on the World Cup. One of them was his longtime friend, Jim Acho.

“A meaningless men's league game, a great guy is dead at 44,” Acho said. “Senseless doesn't begin to describe it.”

Beinewicz had a wife and two young sons, and worked in the dialysis unit at Mott Children's Hospital.

“He was one of those people who crammed everything they could into every hour of the day,” Acho said.

That includes referring hundreds of soccer games every year.

Acho is organizing a memorial fund to help Beinewicz's family.

Copyright 2014 WDIV via CNN. All rights reserved.

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