NEW YORK (AP/WNCN) - A rising star in college basketball's coaching ranks threw a punch that led to the death of a New York City tourist who 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, knocked on the window of Jones' SUV while looking for his ride after his stepsister's wedding, police said. The coach got out, clocked Szabo 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. He is awaiting arraignment on a misdemeanor assault charge.
His lawyer couldn't immediately be reached.
In a statement, Wake Forest said it would comment further once it gathers more information.
In a Friday statement via Twitter, Wake Forest announced Jones is on leave. "[Athletics DIrector Ron] Wellman spoke with Jones today and he agreed that the decision is appropriate at this time given the circumstances," the tweet read.
The Jones family also released a statement on the matter. It reads in part:
It is our sincere hope that this matter not be tried in the court of public opinion. The Jones family stands by Jamill, and his legal right to be presumed innocent in what is, ultimately, a tragic incident.
Click here to read the full statement.
CBS 17 did speak with Steve Shutt, the university’s associate athletic director, briefly on the phone. He declined to comment on the incident further, but he did call it, “an unfolding situation.”
Jones 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."