NEW YORK (AP) — A rising star in college basketball’s coaching ranks threw a punch that led to the death of a New York City tourist who apparently mistook him for an Uber driver, police said on Thursday.
Wake Forest assistant coach Jamill Jones attacked digital marketing guru Sandor Szabo around 1:15 a.m. Sunday in Queens, causing him to fall and hit his head on the sidewalk, police said.
Szabo, visiting from Boca Raton, Florida, made contact with the window of Jones’ SUV while looking for his ride after his stepsister’s wedding, police said.
A person familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press that Szabo may have been drunkenly banging on car windows before Jones allegedly confronted him. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to speak publicly.
The coach got out, followed Szabo to the sidewalk, clocked him and sped off, police said. Szabo never regained consciousness and was taken off life support on Tuesday.
Jones, 35, of Kernersville, North Carolina, turned himself in to police on Thursday, accompanied by a lawyer. He is awaiting arraignment on a misdemeanor assault charge.
His lawyer could not immediately be reached.
In a statement, Wake Forest said it would comment further once it gathers more information.
Jones, a Philadelphia native, joined the Demon Deacons staff in May 2017 after coaching at Central Florida, Virginia Commonwealth and Florida Gulf Coast and playing at Arkansas Tech and North Platte Community College in Nebraska.
Head coach Danny Manning said at the time that Jones was a “well-respected bright mind” in the coaching world and brought “new blood” and “new perspectives” to Wake Forest.
Szabo, also 35, was “super outgoing, friendly, and an incredibly smart businessman,” his company, at What If Media Group, said.
“He was always upbeat, positive, kind and caring,” the company said in a Facebook post. “He was fun to be with, interesting, and always interested. He was a really good person.”
Szabo, who lived in Boca Raton with his brother, always had a bright smile and shared a love of fishing, cooking and family, the company said.
“His beautiful spirit and his love of life will remain with us,” the company said. “We are going to miss him dearly.”