Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim was driving a car that hit and killed a pedestrian on an interstate highway Wednesday night in Syracuse, New York, police said Thursday.
Jorge Jimenez, 51, was outside a car on Interstate 690; the vehicle was involved in an unrelated accident due to bad weather. Jimenez was a passenger in that car, which struck the guardrail and came to rest in the middle of the road. The occupants exited the vehicle.
Boeheim’s car attempted to avoid the vehicle in the road and struck Jimenez after 11 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Police were then called to the scene. At a news conference later in the day, police said Boeheim tried to warn other cars with his cell phone light after striking and killing Jimenez.
Field sobriety and alcohol sensor tests were performed on Boeheim and the driver of the other vehicle and came back negative, police said in the statement. Police said speeds could not be determined, but Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick said Boeheim was traveling at the proper speed for the highway.
Boeheim, who did not attend or participate in Thursday’s practice, issued a statement earlier in the day.
“I am heartbroken that a member of our community died as the result of last night’s accident,” he said. “(Boeheim’s wife) 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.”
It is not clear if Boeheim will coach the Orange against No. 1 Duke on Saturday night. ESPN’s College GameDay was supposed to originate from the Carrier Dome, but a decision was made Thursday afternoon to have GameDay air from Bristol.
“We appreciate their concern for our community during this difficult time,” Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack said in a statement.
Fitzpatrick said Boeheim, 74, was returning home from dinner with his wife and friends. He had guided the Orange to a 69-49 victory over No. 18 Louisville at the Carrier Dome a few hours earlier.
“It’s just a terrible, unfortunate accident,” Fitzpatrick told ESPN. “We don’t yet know [exactly] what caused the initial accident. Coach Boeheim was not involved in that accident. The occupants of the vehicle, including the deceased, were wandering in the road.”
No traffic citations were issued, but the investigation is active and ongoing, according to police.
“We are saddened by the death of a member of our Central New York community,” Wildhack said in a statement earlier in the day. “On behalf of Chancellor Kent Syverud and the entire Syracuse University community, we extend our deepest condolences to all impacted by this tragic accident. 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.”