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College basketball coach charged in fatal LIC assault

11 August 2018
College basketball coach charged in fatal LIC assault

A college basketball coach who police say threw a punch that killed a New York City tourist has pleaded not guilty to an assault charge.

According to police, Jones allegedly punched Sandor Szabo in the face following a confrontation in the early morning hours Sunday that began when Szabo knocked on Jones' vehicle window thinking it was his Uber ride.

Jones turned himself over to police on Thursday and has since faced court charged with assault.

When the man allegedly banged on Jones' auto, the second-year Wake Forest coach reportedly punched him. Dominic also told the paper that his brother probably thought the auto was an Uber.

Jones joined the Wake Forest basketball program in May 2017, according to the team's website.

The driver fled the scene and Szabo - unconscious - was rushed to the hospital in critical condition early Sunday, officials said.

Jones was released on his own recognizance and ordered to return to court October 2.

A person familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press that Szabo may have been drunkenly knocking on auto windows before Jones allegedly confronted him. His attorney calls the encounter a "tragic accident".

Wake Forest had no immediate comment, the AP reported. The head of the victim, Sandor Szabo, "hit the pavement when he fell back and he lost consciousness", NY police said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports.

His employers described him on Facebook as "super outgoing, friendly, and an incredibly smart businessman".

"He was always upbeat, positive, kind and caring", the post continued. He was placed on life support and later died. He was fun to be with, interesting, and always interested.

Jones, of Kernersville, North Carolina, was arraigned Thursday evening in Queens Criminal Court, and he has been charged with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor in NY, according to Massena.