DOT plans to add street lights along stretch of I-690 where Coach Boeheim hit pedestrian


SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The New York State Department of Transportation confirms to NewsChannel 9 that it plans to add street lights to the stretch of I-690 where Jorge Jimenez was accidentally hit and killed by an SUV driven by Coach Jim Boeheim.

The current plans call for engineers to add the lighting when the NYSDOT reconstructs the Thompson Road Bridge over I-690 in late 2020.

The plans are a result of the City of Syracuse’s request that the state study the need for more lights on I-690 in the days following the crash.

On February 20, Jorge Jimenez, who was standing on the highway following an unrelated initial car crash, was hit by Coach Boeheim, who was headed home.

It was so dark, police say, that Boeheim got out of his SUV and used his cell phone flashlight to warn oncoming cars of the danger ahead.

Witnesses who made 911 calls also reported the darkness making it hard to see the area.

The Onondaga County District Attorney’s final report on the crash states “There are no road lights in the area of the crash, there was no moonlight, and no ambient lighting from nearby businesses.”

The police report blames, in part, the “limited/obstructed view” and a “poor/reduced visual environment” as contributing factors to the crash on the “dark highway.”

A NYSDOT spokesperson says the plans are contingent upon coordination with the City of Syracuse, the Town of DeWitt and the Village of East Syracuse, which each have jurisdiction over different pieces of that stretch of highway.

As is usual with similar projects, the state will pay to put up the lights, but it is the responsibility of the local municipality to fund the power and maintain the lights once they’re installed.

Village of East Syracuse Mayor Robert Tackman tells NewsChannel 9 that the  NYSDOT has briefed him on the plan and he will meet with engineers to discuss how many lights will fall in his jurisdiction. At this point, he predicts it will be a minimal number compared to Syracuse and DeWitt.

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