Wake Forest University assistant basketball coach Jamill Jones was accused of fatally punching a New York City tourist who mistook him for an Uber driver. Jones pleaded not guilty to assault charges in a New York court room Thursday.
Jones allegedly punched Sando Szabo around 1:15 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 5, police said, reports CBS News. Szabo fell to the ground and his head hit the sidewalk. He was taken off life support Tuesday.
Police said Szabo, a 35-year-old digital marketing employee from Boca Raton, Florida, knocked on Jones' SUV window, believing it was the car of an Uber driver picking him up after his sister's wedding. Jones, 35, got out of the car and punched Szabo. Jones then sped off, according to police.
Jones turned himself in Thursday morning, with his lawyer by his side. He was charged with misdemeanor assault. He pleaded not guilty, and was then released on his own recognizance.
"This was a tragic accident, and Mr. Jones and his family send their deepest condolences and their thoughts and prayers to the Szabo family," Jones' attorney Alain Massena, said.
Jones was born in Philadelphia and has coached at Central Florida, Virginia Commonwealth and Florida Gulf Coast before joining Wake Forest in May 2017. He played college basketball at Arkansas Tech and Nebraska's North Platte Community College.
"We have just been made aware of this matter and we are gathering information. We will make a further statement after we learn more about the matter," Wake Forest Athletics said in a statement.
Szabo was an employee of What If Media Group, based in Fort Lee, New Jersey. He lived in Boca Raton with his brother and was one of only 25 employees at the company.
"Sandor was super outgoing, friendly, and an incredibly smart businessman. He was always upbeat, positive, kind and caring. He was fun to be with, interesting, and always interested. He was a really good person," the company said in a statement on Facebook.
"Our company has about 25 employees, all of whom are very close; he was part of our family," the company continued. "We are all deeply saddened by this loss. We will remember his bright smile, his positive attitude, his passion for our company (and each of us), his love of fish, fishing, and cooking, and his love of family. His beautiful spirit and his love of life will remain with us. We are going to miss him dearly."
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