Lawsuit brought against Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim and the university for his fatal car accident in 2019

By Joel Alderman

For the family of Jorge Jimenez of Syracuse NY, it is a recurring nightmare the night he was struck and killed by a car driven by Hall of Fame basketball coach Jim Boeheim the night of Feb. 20, 2019. Apparently, all efforts to settle a wrongful death claim by his family have failed, and a lawsuit was filed on Nov. 9th in Onondaga County (NY) Supreme Court. Syracuse University is also a defendant because it was the registered owner of the GMC Acadia SUV that its employee was operating.

The tragedy took place just a few hours after Boeheim’s Syracuse team had beaten Louisville, 69-49, in the Carrier Dome.

Facts not disputed

The complaint states that Boeheim was driving “at a high rate of speed and/or was otherwise negligent in the operation of the vehicle.” It alleges that he was going 66 in a 55-mph zone, which is the same speed as a police investigation determined. But the county District Attorney, William Fitzpatrick, also concluded that even if Boeheim had observed the speed limit the accident still could have occurred.

Albany lawyer Terence O’Connor obviously disagreed; hence the legal proceedings were brought.

The victim was 51 years old. Boeheim will be 76 in a few days (Nov. 17). One of his sons, Jimmy, a 6-9 walk-on at Cornell, was the Big Red’s leading scorer last season and hopes to play in January if the Ivy League allows basketball.

The four-page lawsuit states that Boeheim was on his way home at around 11 PM when he swerved to avoid a disabled vehicle in the middle of the road and hit Jiménez who had left the car in which he was a passenger.

Boeheim “heartbroken” but still being sued

The next day Boeheim said in a statement “I am heartbroken that a member of our community died as the result of last night’s accident. Juli and I extend our deepest sympathies to the Jimenez family.”

Although the publicity doesn’t exactly enhance his image, Boeheim is probably not likely to suffer much financially. We assume here that he and Syracuse University had enough liability insurance to cover any damages that might be awarded, plus the cost of providing legal counsel.

Things have been rough for him

Boeheim still has to live down a scathing 2015 report by the NCAA Committee on Infractions, which concluded that “for approximately 10 years, the head basketball coach failed in his responsibilities to promote an atmosphere of compliance within his program and monitor the activities of those who reported directly and indirectly to him.”

As a result, he was suspended for nine ACC games, 12 scholarships were taken away from the program and 108 wins by the Orange were vacated.

Now this!

UPDATE: Adding to the miserable year Jim Boeheim has experienced, the Syracuse head coach tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, November 15. Syracuse has paused basketball activities in the absence of its coach. The team is scheduled to open the season against Bryant on November 27.

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