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Prosecutors have reduced a battery charge against Daniel Dye, a driver in the ARCA racing series and a senior at Father Lopez High School, from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Dye issued a statement on Saturday saying that the incident that led to his arrest had been part of "an immature game."
ARCA, which suspended Dye after his arrest, announced on Friday that he had been reinstated.
"He has been approved to return to all ARCA racing activities effective Friday, May 13, 2022," according to the statement on the ARCA website.
Dye was arrested April 26 after he was accused of punching another student in the groin during class, sending the student to the hospital with a serious injury, Daytona Beach Police said.
Dye, 18, has been free on $2,500 bail from the Volusia County Branch Jail, court records show.
Dye was charged initially by police with third-degree felony battery.
But on Friday, 7th Circuit State Attorney R.J. Larizza’s office formally charged Dye with a first-degree misdemeanor.
Prosecutors sometimes dismiss, downgrade or upgrade charges between arrest and filing formal charges.
Assistant State Attorney Bryan Shorstein texted a statement in which he wrote "After a review of all relevant evidence, including medical records, witness interviews, police investigation, plus a discussion with the victim and his family, we believe misdemeanor battery was the correct charge."
Dye’s case was moved from felony court to Volusia County Court, David Foxman’s docket. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for June 20 at 8:30 a.m.
The son of local car dealer Randy Dye, Daniel Dye, posted a statement about the incident that led to his arrest.
"The facts are that me and my classmates have been engaged in a silly and admittedly immature game commonly played at the school between boys and involves hitting each other in the groin," according to Daniel Dye's statement. "This has been going on since we were in the 9th grade. The other student 'got me' and then I got him back. I want to be very clear that nobody was trying to seriously injure anyone in the game and I am relieved to know that the other student has recovered."
Dye went on to state that racing depends on "good judgment and that he wants "to be seen as a positive role model in every walk of life."
He also stated that he is committed to raising awareness about suicide prevention and to having the "Race to Stop Suicide" message on his car in every race he runs.
Daniel Dye won his first career ARCA race last summer and competed in a handful of events in 2020 for Ben Kennedy, NASCAR's current Vice President of Strategy and Innovation.
He signed on with GMS Racing this season to run his first full-time ARCA schedule, finished third in the season-opener at Daytona in February and has a pair of top-three finishes in three races. Dye recently finished 17th at Talladega in April.
After Dye’s initial arrest, ARCA Menards series officials suspended him indefinitely.
Investigators with the Daytona Beach Police Department said the incident occurred at 2:50 p.m. on April 25 at the high school at 3918 LPGA Blvd.
The injured student told police that while sitting in class, Dye came up to him and started dancing in the victim's face, an arrest report states.
The victim pushed Dye away but he continued to dance near the victim, police said.
The victim thought the incident was over but Dye suddenly came from behind and punched him in the groin, according to the report.
The student fell to the ground, but was able to leave the room where he realized that he was seriously injured, police said.
The injured student drove home to his father and went to the hospital, police said.
At the hospital, the student was referred to a urologist, the arrest report noted
This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Charges reduced against ARCA racer and Father Lopez Senior Daniel Dye