Boeheim deemed 'not reckless' in fatal crash, case is closed

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim will not be charged in last month's fatal highway accident and the case is closed.

Boeheim was "not reckless," Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said Thursday. Fitzpatrick added his decision came after reviewing the police accident report.

Boeheim declined to comment, the athletic department said.

According to the report, Boeheim was driving 66 mph five seconds before the night crash and about 54 mph at impact. The speed limit is 55 mph. The disabled car on the dimly lit highway was going 67 mph when it skidded out.

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The report concluded Boeheim's driving was "not reckless, unreasonable or with gross negligence." Also, speed was not a contributing factor even though the black boxes in both vehicles indicated both cars traveling just above the speed limit. There was no evidence drugs or alcohol played a role.

Boeheim was on the highway after a Feb. 20 game when he accidentally struck 51-year-old Jorge Jimenez around 11:20 p.m. The 74-year-old Hall of Fame coach swerved his SUV to avoid the black Dodge Charger that had skidded to a stop on the slick roadway and was resting perpendicular across most of two lanes. He then struck Jimenez, who had exited the Dodge and was standing near the guardrail. Jimenez died a short while later at a nearby hospital.

The report said the Dodge would not have passed a New York state inspection because of two bad tires and inoperable rear marker lights.

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Syracuse men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim during the 2018-19 season
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Syracuse men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim during the 2018-19 season
RALEIGH, NC - FEBRUARY 13:Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim during the 1st half of the NC State Wolfpack game versus the Syracuse Orange on February 13th, 2019, at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC. (Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC - FEBRUARY 13: Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim and Syracuse Orange guard Tyus Battle (25) during the 2nd half of the NC State Wolfpack game versus the Syracuse Orange on February 13th, 2019, at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC. (Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
SYRACUSE, NY - JANUARY 12: Head coach Jim Boeheim of the Syracuse Orange reacts to a call against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the second half at the Carrier Dome on January 12, 2019 in Syracuse, New York. Georgia Tech defeated Syracuse 73-59. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
SYRACUSE, NY - JANUARY 09: Head coach Jim Boeheim of the Syracuse Orange looks on against the Clemson Tigers during the second half at the Carrier Dome on January 9, 2019 in Syracuse, New York. Syracuse defeated Clemson 61-53. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
SYRACUSE, NY - DECEMBER 29: Syracuse Orange Head Coach Jim Boeheim claps for his players play on the court during the first half of the St. Bonaventure Bonnies versus the Syracuse Orange game on December 29, 2018, at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY.(Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
SYRACUSE, NY - DECEMBER 18: Head coach Jim Boeheim of the Syracuse Orange chuckles after a traveling call goes in his team's favor during the second half against the Buffalo Bulls at the Carrier Dome on December 18, 2018 in Syracuse, New York. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
SYRACUSE, NY - DECEMBER 01: Head coach Jim Boeheim of the Syracuse Orange reacts as Paschal Chukwu #13 comes out of the game against the Cornell Big Red during the first half at the Carrier Dome on December 1, 2018 in Syracuse, New York. Syracuse defeated Cornell 63-55. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
SYRACUSE, NY - DECEMBER 01: Head coach Jim Boeheim of the Syracuse Orange embrace his son, Jimmy Boeheim #3 of the Cornell Big Red following the game at the Carrier Dome on December 1, 2018 in Syracuse, New York. Syracuse defeated Cornell 63-55. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
SYRACUSE, NY - DECEMBER 01: Head coach Jim Boeheim of the Syracuse Orange talks with Frank Howard #23 against the Cornell Big Red during the first half at the Carrier Dome on December 1, 2018 in Syracuse, New York. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 28: Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim watches a Ohio State Buckeye player in a game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Syracuse Orange on November 28, 2018 at Value City Arena in Columbus, OH. (Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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The accident happened a couple hours after Syracuse had upset then-No. 16 Louisville. Boeheim addressed the team the next day but did not take part in practice. He returned to the bench to coach against top-ranked Duke on Feb. 23 and received a rousing ovation from the record-Carrier Dome crowd of 35,642.

Boeheim, in his 43rd year as head coach at his alma mater, said he coached the game because he felt an obligation to his players. Afterward, he appeared emotionally spent.

"I can't describe the feelings," he said. "I don't think I can make anyone understand who hasn't been there. I don't.

"I've always felt in life, you get a lot of things you have to overcome. There's nothing like this when a human life is lost and you are there. I can't describe it to you."

Boeheim said he had been in touch with the Jimenez family.

"I intend to try and do that as I can in the future," he said. "This is isn't about me, it doesn't matter how I feel. It's about how they feel and what's happened to them. There's just nothing I can say about it."

Jimenez's funeral was last week. Area businesses donated to the costs.

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AP Sports Writer John Kekis in Albany, New York, contributed to this report.

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