Jim Boeheim, Syracuse Basketball Coach, Kills Pedestrian in Crash: ‘I Am Heartbroken’
The Hall of Fame basketball coach was not under the influence of alcohol and is cooperating with police.
Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim hit and killed a man who was walking along a highway in upstate New York night Wednesday night to examine his own vehicle after a crash, authorities confirmed.
The man, now identified as 51-year-old Jorge Jimenez, was driving with three other friends when their car “lost control on the highway” and hit a guardrail, Syracuse police said in a Thursday news release.
“The occupants then exited the vehicle and proceeded to walk on the highway within close proximity to that vehicle,” police said, adding the crash occurred for “unknown reasons.”
The 74-year-old Basketball Hall of Fame coach allegedly “noticed the disabled car.. in the middle of the road” as he was driving home after winning a game against the Louisville Cardinals at Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome.
While attempting to avoid the vehicle by driving around it, Boeheim accidentally hit Jimenez, police said.
“I am heartbroken that a member of our community died as the result of last night’s accident,” Boeheim said in a statement released Thursday. “Juli and I extend our deepest sympathies to the Jimenez family. Out of respect for those involved, I will not be providing further comment at this time."
Authorities responded to the scene at about 11:22 p.m., and Jimenez was immediately transported to Upstate University Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Boeheim, who remained on the scene with the other driver, was not injured in the incident. Both drivers were given “field sobriety and alco-sensor tests” that came back negative for “any signs of impairment,” police said.
Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick told The Daily Beast Boeheim was released after a police interview.
“Coach Boeheim is in contact with local authorities and cooperating fully,” John Wildhack, Syracuse’s director of athletics, said in a statement obtained by The Daily Beast.
He added that while the school “is saddened by the death of a member of our Central New York community... out of respect for those grieving, there will be no further comment at this time.”
Though authorities have not determined the precise cause of the incident, Fitzpatrick believes both crashes were a result of “bad weather.”
Boeheim has coached Syracuse University men’s basketball team for 43 years, according to the school’s athletics website. He earned the school a national title in 2003, and the team has competed in the NCAA tournament 32 times, including participating in the March Madness ‘Final Four’ five times.
Friends and former players who spoke to Boeheim after the accident said he was “shaken.”
“He’s devastated,” Adam Weitsman, Boeheim’s friend told WTVH this morning. “He says the man was in the middle of the road, not along the side or anything like that.”
Syracuse Police have not charged or ticketed Boeheim at this time.