Syracuse head basketball coach Jim Boeheim was involved in a tragic and fatal accident last night.
According to ESPN, the accident occurred on Interstate 690 in Syracuse, New York — at around 11 p.m. EST on Wednesday, February 20. 51-year-old Jorge Jimenez was standing on the side of the highway after he was involved in an unrelated accident. The man was the passenger in a vehicle that struck a guardrail and came to a stop in the middle of the road.
According to reports, Jimenez and the other occupants in that vehicle took shelter on the side of the road after the car was stalled in the middle of the interstate. As Boeheim was traveling down the road in his vehicle, he attempted to avoid the car in the middle of the road, causing him to strike and kill Jimenez as he walked on the side.
Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick released a statement following the accident.
“It’s just a terrible, unfortunate accident,” Fitzpatrick said. “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.”
Boheim was traveling home from a dinner with his wife and friends following a home win against Louisville at the Carrier Dome. Following the deadly incident, the college coach was issued a field sobriety test, which he passed. At the time, no traffic citations were issued. It was also reported that icy road and weather conditions may have played a role in the deadly accident.
Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack released a statement earlier today regarding the tragedy, and said that the university was very “saddened” that a member of the community was killed.
“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.”
Boeheim has been a popular figure in the Syracuse community, after having served as the head men’s basketball coach since 1972. According to CNN, the highly-touted coach has taken his team to the NCAA tournament an impressive 32 times, and has also made 4 appearances in the Final Four.
The team’s next scheduled game is on February 23, against the Duke Blue Devils. It is unclear if Boeheim will be in attendance for the game, or if someone will need to step in to fill his place for the time being as the investigation into the deadly accident continues.