Report released on fatal crash involving SU Coach Jim Boeheim

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FILE – In this Feb. 23, 2019, file photo, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim speaks at a news conference after the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Duke, in Syracuse, N.Y. A New Yorker who was fatally struck by a vehicle driven by Syracuse University’s basketball coach is being remembered as family man who loved life. […]

District Attorney William J. Fitzpatrick announced today that the investigation into the accident that occurred on February 20, 2019 on Interstate Highway 690 in the City of Syracuse, involving the death of Jorge Jiminez is officially closed. The Syracuse Police Department has completed its accident reconstruction report regarding the accident and submitted it to the District Attorney’s Office for review on March 5, 2019.

The report revealed the following facts:

   1. On Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at approximately 11:20 PM Alberto Brinones was operating his
   2011 black Dodge Charger in an easterly direction on Route 690 in the City of Syracuse.

   2. Also present in the Dodge were passengers Osvaldo Rivera-Olivo in the front passenger seat,
   Jorge Jiminez in the rear seat behind the front passenger and Mayra Quinones in the rear seat
   behind the driver. The four friends were heading towards the Thruway with the eventual
   destination intended to be the Turning Stone Casino.

   3. While traveling in the far right lane, Brinones indicated, through an interpreter, that he was
   traveling east at approximately 40-45mph when he hit a patch of ice and spun out of control, his
   car hitting the left guardrail and coming to rest in a manner perpendicular to oncoming traffic.
   The vehicle was primarily in the center lane and partially in the left lane.

   4. The Dodge sustained severe front end damage causing the front lights to be detached and to no
   longer function.

   5. All four passengers exited the vehicle yet only Ms. Quinones managed to get to safety behind the
   guardrail and protected from oncoming traffic.

   6. At 11:20:47 PM the 911 Center received the first call regarding the crash. The caller reported
   that although he did not witness the original accident, he was reporting a dangerous situation of
   a vehicle that was “hard to see” resting in the middle of the roadway on 690. He also reported
   another vehicle narrowly avoiding a collision by swerving around the disabled vehicle.

   7. Nearly 2 minutes later at 11:22:30 PM a second call was received at the 911 Center by another
   caller. She reported that she had been driving eastbound on 690 when “like a deer jumping in
   front” of her she observed a black car with no lights on in the middle of the road. She also
   observed two people in dark clothing standing next to the front driver’s door of the disabled
   vehicle. She swerved to the right at the last second narrowly avoiding the car. She also observed
   a vehicle traveling in the center lane behind her about “seven” car lengths back and was able to
   see that car swerve left which was followed by a bang. It was determined that that vehicle was
   operated by Mr. Boeheim.

   8. Mr. Boeheim was interviewed and provided a statement indicating that after dinner at Joey’s
   Restaurant he dropped family friends off at the Aloft hotel and then proceeded home by way of
   690 east. He stated that “As I passed Midler Ave….before Thompson Road….(and) crested the
   hill…traveling down the center lane I observed a vehicle sitting sideways in the middle lane….I
   could see the vehicle and there was no lights…..I reacted and moved to the far left lane by the
   guardrail. I know I would not be able to stop in time and made an effort to get as close to the
   guardrail to avoid striking the vehicle. 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. Then a
   split second later I hear a loud bang and I start coming to a stop…”

   9. Mr. Boeheim called 911 at 11:22:40 PM to report the accident. He saw that the person he struck
   was being attended to and that there was a dangerous situation still in effect so he activated the
   light on his cell phone to warn oncoming drivers. This was the 3rd 911 call regarding the crash.
   Jorge Jiminez was later pronounced at University Hospital. Mr. Rivera-Olivo received a non-life
   threatening injury. Mayra Quinones made the 4th 911 call at 11:23:13 PM and emotionally
   reported that cars were sliding and one of them hit her friend.

   10. The speed limit in the area of the crash is 55 mph, later accelerating to 65 as 690 meets Route
   481. There are no road lights in the area of the crash, there was no moonlight, and no ambient
   lighting from nearby businesses. There were sporadic icy patches towards the far right lane, and
   the accident reconstructionist had no problems with traction as he walked the scene. There
   were no other accidents reported that evening in the immediate area.

   11. The vehicle driven by Mr. Boeheim was examined and determined to be a 2018 GMC Acadia
   Suburban in good working order and having four wheel drive. It sustained damage to its front
   end from the collision with Mr. Jiminez and also had front bumper damage from striking the
   guardrail. All tires had proper tread and pressure. The headlights and side lights were all in
   proper working condition. Examination of the Event Data Recorder, otherwise known as the
   “black box”, revealed that the Boeheim vehicle was traveling at approximately 66mph at five
   seconds before the impact and at approximately 54 mph at the time of impact. There was
   evidence of braking before, during and after the accident.

   12. The vehicle driven by Mr. Brinones was a 2011 Dodge Charger black in color. The vehicle would
   not have passed New York State inspection for several reasons that may be germane to the
   original accident. Two of Mr. Brinones’ tires (right front and right rear) had inadequate tread and
   the remaining two tires would have barely passed inspection. In addition, the driver and
   passenger rear marker lights, which are mounted by the lower bumper region and are designed
   to give side illumination, were found to be inoperable. Finally all four of the vehicle’s windows
   had 4% light transmittance as opposed to a passing rate of 70% making the vehicle even more
   difficult to be observed by oncoming traffic. All of the vehicle’s doors were able to be opened 
   and closed to allow exit by the occupants. It is unknown at this time why, having already nearly
   been struck, Mr. Brinones, Mr. Rivera-Olivo and Mr. Jiminez were delayed in moving to safety.

   13. The apparent contributing factor for Mr. Brinones crashing his vehicle into the guardrail was the
   loss of traction on the unsafe tires. As previously stated, there were no reports of previous
   accidents in the area, nor were there recorded reports of hazardous conditions. The event data
   recorder of Mr. Brinones’ vehicle indicates that he was traveling at 67mph five seconds before he
   lost control of his vehicle and struck the guardrail.

   14. The accident reconstruction report concluded that speed was not a contributing factor in Mr.
   Boeheim striking Mr. Jiminez. There is zero evidence that drugs or alcohol played a role in either
   accident. The final conclusion from the report states:

         “Based on the totality of the circumstances surrounding this collision investigation,
         Boeheim’s operation of his motor vehicle was not reckless, unreasonable or with gross
         
negligence, and no crimes were committed.”

        It continues, with regard to the collision involving Mr. Jiminez:

        “The apparent contributing factors relating to this collision (are) Boeheim’s
         limited/obstructed view, and Boeheim’s reaction to an uninvolved vehicle that being
         the crashed, unlit Dodge Charger that obstructed two lanes of the highway within a
         poor/reduced visual environment. A secondary contributing factor is 
pedestrian
         error/confusion as the pedestrians remained on the dark highway dressed in dark
         clothing for a prolonged period of time after being aware of 
oncoming vehicles
         nearly colliding with the Dodge Charger.”

District Attorney Fitzpatrick said: “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. No charges will be filed against anyone involved. While I recognize that, technically, charges
of speeding could be filed against both Mr. Boeheim and Mr. Brinones, in light of the accident
reconstruction report, I am exercising my discretion in declining to charge either party. Members of my
office and the Police Officers who performed the accident reconstruction and prepared the report have
met with the Jiminez family, answered all their questions and have been completely transparent with
them. My office will share all reports and findings with the Jiminez family, and I echo Chief Buckner’s
sentiments that this was a tragic loss of life. My condolences are extended to this family for the loss of
their companion, father and friend.”
 

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