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Law enforcement describes deadly Boeheim crash as ‘horrible, sad tragedy’

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner (center) with Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick.

Law enforcement officials are describing a deadly car accident involving Syracuse men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim as a horrible, sad tragedy. Boeheim hit and killed a man who was fleeing a disabled vehicle on Interstate 690 in Syracuse.

Syracuse police say on Wednesday night, the victim, 51-year-old Jorge Jimenez, was in a vehicle with three other individuals, that lost control, possibly due to icy road conditions, and struck a guard rail, disabling the vehicle perpendicular, across the center lane. Jimenez and the other passengers exited the vehicle, attempting to get to safety, when he was struck by Boeheim’s vehicle, who was trying to avoid the accident.

Boeheim was one of several people who called 911. Lt. David Brown said the first responding officer on the scene was flagged down by Boeheim, who was shining his cell phone light to alert drivers of the scene.

“Mr. Boeheim reported to us that after he brought his vehicle to a stop, he retreated back towards the crash scene and he observes that Mr. Jimenez’s friends were already attempting to render first aid," Brown said. "So, he stated his primary concern was not to have another vehicle crash into the vehicle on the roadway. And so he ran back and attempted to flag down vehicles with his cell phone light.”

At this time, police say Boeheim is cooperating, neither driver was impaired, and there are no criminal charges, but the investigation is ongoing.

Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick said it was an accident in the purest form of the word.

"Taking time to offer condolences to the Jimenez family is what the chief did first," Fitzpatrick said. "The story is obviously newsworthy because of the notoriety of the coach. But this is the loss of a human being."

In a statement, Boeheim said he is heartbroken and extended sympathy to the victim’s family.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.