NEW YORK – A rising star in college basketball 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 Thursday.
Wake Forest assistant coach Jamill Jones attacked digital marketing guru Sandor Szabo about 1:15 a.m. Sunday in Queens, causing him to fall and hit his head on the pavement, 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 the car windows for Jones allegedly confronted him. The person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to speak publicly.
The coach stepped out, followed Szabo on 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, gave himself up to the police on Thursday, accompanied by a lawyer. He is awaiting arraignment on a felony 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, a member of the Demon Deacons staff in May 2017 after coaching in Central Florida, Virginia Commonwealth and Florida Gulf Coast and play at Arkansas Tech and North Platte Community College in Nebraska.
Head coach Danny Manning said at the time that Jones was a “respected clear mind” in the coaching world and brought “new blood” and “new perspectives” to Wake Forest.
Szabo, 35, was “super outgoing, friendly, and a very smart businessman,” his company, What If Media Group, said.
“He was always cheerful, positive, sweet and caring,” the company said in a Facebook post. “He was fun to be with, interesting, and always interested. He was really a good person.”
Szabo, who lived in Boca Raton with his brother, always had a smile and a shared love for fishing, cooking, and family, the company said.
“His beautiful spirit and his love for life remain with us,” the company said. “We are going to miss him very, very happy.”