Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim Was Speeding at Time of Deadly Crash, But Is Cleared of Wrongdoing: Cops
Boeheim struck and killed a man while driving his car along a central New York highway last month
Boeheim, 74, was driving along Interstate 690 in Syracuse the night of February 20 when he swerved to avoid hitting a disabled car in the road, which had crashed into a guardrail moments before due to bad weather. But as Boeheim steered his car out of the way, he ended up striking 51-year-old Jorge Jimenez, a passenger in the stalled vehicle who was standing in the road after the crash.
Boeheim remained on the scene and called emergency services, while Jimenez, a native of Cuba, was later pronounced dead after being transported to a nearby hospital.
In a new report released Thursday by district attorney William Fitzpatrick — whose office did not immediately respond when contacted by PEOPLE — police said they found Boeheim was driving at 66 miles per hour as he approached the stalled vehicle, and slowed to 54 mph at the time of impact. As the Times reported, while the speed limit is 55 mph, police concluded that Boeheim was not driving “reckless, unreasonable or with gross negligence,” and will not face any charges in the fatal crash.
“As I get to the front of the vehicle, I observed what I believe is a person along the guardrail; there might have been more than one person,” Boeheim is quoted saying in the report by ESPN. “Then a split second later, I hear a loud bang, and I start coming to a stop.”
Boeheim — who was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005 — was returning home from dinner after securing a victory over Louisville earlier that night, and previous reports confirm he did not test positive for drugs or alcohol.
The report also stated that the driver of the stalled car, a Dodge Charger, was cited for having unsafe tires, which contributed to the initial accident.
“After a careful review of the facts and circumstances of this case, including the thorough and meticulous accident reconstruction performed by experienced members of the Syracuse Police Department’s Traffic Division, I concur with their findings that this was a tragic accident,” Fitzpatrick stated in the report.
In the days after the incident, Boeheim returned to coach the Syracuse basketball team, and was greeted by a standing ovation when he appeared for a game against Duke University.
“I felt the responsibility and obligation to my players, the members of my basketball team,” Boeheim said after the game, which Syracuse lost 75-65. “[The players] understand I did this feeling fully the weight of the tragic accident and its impact on the Jimenez family. This is something that will be with me, for the rest of my life.”