Syracuse, N.Y. — Longtime Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim struck and killed a man standing along an interstate late Wednesday night as he tried to avoid hitting the man’s disabled vehicle, police say.
Syracuse police say 51-year-old Jorge Jimenez was in a vehicle with three others before midnight Wednesday when their vehicle crashed into a guardrail and lost control on I-690 in Syracuse.
Boeheim struck Jimenez as he stood on the side of the road while trying to avoid the vehicle in the middle of the highway. Jimenez was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
“I am heartbroken that a member of our community died as the result of last night’s accident,” Boeheim said in a prepared statement. The 74-year-old Basketball Hall of Fame coach said he and his wife Juli “extend our deepest sympathies to the Jimenez family.”
He said he would not comment further “out of respect for those involved.”
Police said Boeheim is cooperating with the investigation.
“He stopped immediately and exited the vehicle,” Syracuse Sgt. Matthew Malinowski said.
Police said sobriety tests administered to Boeheim and the unidentified driver of the other vehicle were negative for any signs of impairment. No tickets have been issued to Boeheim at this time and the investigation is continuing.
Light rain and freezing rain were falling Wednesday night, though it is unclear if the weather had anything to do with the crash.
Just hours before, Boeheim’s team defeated 18th-ranked Louisville 69-49 at the Carrier Dome. The accident scene is between the dome and Boeheim’s suburban home. Police could not confirm if he was on his way home after the game.
Syracuse University director of Athletics John Wildhack said in a statement the university sent its condolences to “all impacted by this tragic accident.” Wildhack echoed police, saying Boeheim “is in contact with local authorities and cooperating fully.”
Boeheim has coached at Syracuse, his alma mater, since 1976 and is one of the most accomplished coaches in the country. He ranks second all-time in wins in Division I with 944, behind only Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski. Over his 43 years at Syracuse, Boeheim has led the team to a national title in 2003 and five Final Four appearances.