USC's Simione Vehikite facing charges

Turns out there's a pretty good reason USC LB-FB Simione Vehikite is no longer with the Trojans, as was reported Monday.

He was arrested last month and faces felony charges related to an incident that occurred in July 2011, the LA Times reported.

From the Times:

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department website, Vehikite, 21, was arrested Feb. 6 in Inglewood. A court date to schedule a preliminary hearing is set for March 19, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said.

According to the felony complaint, on or about July 16, 2011, Vehikite was allegedly the driver of a vehicle involved in an incident that resulted in him facing four counts: leaving the scene of an accident; driving under the influence and causing injury; driving with a .08% blood alcohol level and causing injury; and identity theft.

Vehikite, a 5-foot-11, 225-pound junior, was expected to compete this spring with redshirt freshman Soma Vainuku for the starting fullback spot.

The Times talked to coach Lane Kiffin about Vehikite:

"Immediately after [USC officials became] aware of the situation, he was removed from all team activities and has not been involved since then," Coach Lane Kiffin said during a campus interview Tuesday. "Simi has hired an attorney, and we will have no comments on the situation while we let it work through the process."

It appears that Vehikite's return to the team hasn't been ruled out, but it's worth noting -- and ESPNLA did -- that, "Vehikite's departure brings USC's current scholarship count down to 76, counting the 2012 signees due to get to school in the summer. NCAA sanctions mandate that the Trojans stay under 75 this season, so at least one more player must be cut or lose his scholarship by August."