A Florida man visiting New York City for a wedding died this week after he was punched during an altercation over a mistaken Uber ride. The alleged puncher has now been identified as Wake Forest University assistant basketball coach Jamill Jones, who has been arraigned on a misdemeanor assault charge.
Police say that Sandor Szabo, 35, was involved in the altercation around 1:15 a.m. Sunday morning near 41-10 29th Street in Queens. Police confirmed to the AP that Szabo, who was visiting the city from Boca Raton, Florida, banged on the window of Jones's SUV while looking for his Uber ride after his stepsister’s wedding. Investigators say that Jones got out and punched Szabo in the face; his head hit the pavement when he fell back and he lost consciousness.
Jones then allegedly left the scene in a white SUV, while Szabo was taken to a local hospital in critical condition before succumbing to his injuries Tuesday.
The NY Post has a few more details about what allegedly led to the altercation: "Szabo...banged multiple cars in front of 41-10 29th St. at around 1:15 a.m., sources said. A local resident heard the ruckus and came out of his home to confront Szabo, who then punched that person in the face, according to the sources. Jones then approached Szabo and slugged him."
Jones, 35, turned himself into police on Thursday and was charged with assault; he pleaded not guilty and was released on his own recognizance. His attorney, Alain Massena, said in a statement: "The court made the proper ruling with the charges, and the District Attorney’s office made the proper ruling with the charges. We’re going to say one thing and that’s all. The Jones family sends their deepest condolences and sympathies to the Szabo family. We won’t be making any further comments."
Szabo worked for digital marketing firm What If Media Group; they eulogized him on Facebook, writing, "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."
His family sent this statement to CBS:
[Sandor’s] family and friends are overwhelmed, but not surprised, by the outpouring of love and support from the many people whose lives he touched; he did not know a stranger. He was kind, giving, loving and enjoyed life to the fullest. He will be missed but there is comfort knowing he will live on in the many lives he will save through organ donation with “Live On NY."
Jones joined the Wake Forest 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.
Statement from Wake Forest Athletics on Jamill Jones:
"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 Sports (@DemonDeacons) August 9, 2018
The Post adds that the charges against Jones could be upgraded depending on the medical examiner's findings.