Syracuse basketball coach kills pedestrian in crash


SportsPulse: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle’s Steve Bradley details how Jim Boeheim killed a pedestrian in a car crash and the affect on the team.

Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim struck and killed a pedestrian while driving late Wednesday night.

Police said the victim, 51-year-old Jorge Jimenez, was a passenger in a vehicle that crashed into a guard rail about four miles east of downtown Syracuse, New York.

“The occupants then exited the vehicle and proceeded to walk on the highway within close proximity to that vehicle,” Syracuse police said in a statement. “An oncoming vehicle noticed the disabled car and tried avoiding the vehicle, which was in the middle of the road.”

Boeheim, the driver of that vehicle, struck Jimenez as he stood near the side of the road, according to police. Jimenez was transported to Upstate University Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

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Boeheim issued a statement Thursday afternoon. 

“I am heartbroken that a member of our community died as the result of last night’s accident. Juli (his wife) 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.” 

Syracuse police said they were called to the scene around 11:22 p.m. 

Boeheim, 74, passed an alcohol test and cooperated with investigators at the scene, the police statement said. He was interviewed by police and released. No tickets have been issued, but an investigation and accident reconstruction are underway.

The Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office did not immediately reply to messages left by USA TODAY Sports on Thursday morning.

John Wildhack, Syracuse University’s Director of Athletics, issued a statement Thursday morning. 

“We are saddened by the death of a member of our Central New York community. On behalf of Chancellor Kent Syverud and the entire Syracuse University community, we extend our deepest condolences to all impacted by this tragic accident,” the statement said. “Coach Boeheim is in contact with local authorities and cooperating fully. Out of respect for those grieving, there will be no further comment at this time.”

The Syracuse men’s basketball team defeated Louisville 69-49 at the Carrier Dome earlier Wednesday night. The game ended around 9 p.m.

It’s unclear if weather played a role in the initial crash or in Boeheim striking the pedestrian.

Boeheim has been the head coach at Syracuse since 1976, making him the longest-tenured coach in Division I basketball. He has led the Orange to five Final Fours and one national title, in 2003.

Boeheim, who has also worked as an assistant coach with the U.S. Olympic basketball team, was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005.

Syracuse is scheduled to play top-ranked Duke at the Carrier Dome at 6 p.m. on Saturday. It was not immediately known if Boeheim planned to attend practice on Thursday or if he will coach on Saturday.

ESPN announced late Thursday it decided to not have GameDay coverage of the event

Contributing: Scott Gleeson, Tom Schad of USA TODAY


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