UC Berkeley student Kevin Lacanlale died early Thursday morning in a traffic collision on Highway 13 in Oakland. He was 19.
He died at 4:46 a.m. Thursday morning after another vehicle crashed into his 1996 Toyota Camry, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Mike Vigil. Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Coroner’s Bureau said the cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries.
Lacanlale was driving the Camry — which was carrying three other passengers — when it struck a fallen tree on the highway around 4:15 a.m. just south of the Park Boulevard off ramp, according to Vigil. The three passengers left the car to stand on the right shoulder of the highway while Lacanlale remained standing in the traffic lane, according to Vigil.
Shortly after, a Ford F-150 pickup truck driving southbound on the highway also ran into the tree, causing the Ford to become airborne and hit the Camry, which then hit Lacanlale, according to Vigil.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the impact of the crash knocked part of the tree up the embankment, trapping a woman who was also a passenger of the Toyota. The San Francisco Chronicle said Oakland firefighters used chainsaws to extricate her.
The 59-year-old man who was driving the Ford, the woman and the two other passengers who had been in the Toyota suffered injures and were transported to a hospital, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. None of their injuries were life-threatening.
Lacanlale graduated in 2011 from Central Kitsap High School near Bremerton, Washington. He received a prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship Award in 2011 and planned on pursuing a career in medicine. He lived in Bowles Hall at UC Berkeley.
“He was a fellow Gates Scholar here at Berkeley whom I had the pleasure of meeting a few times … he was part of a family of Gates Scholars who is currently now mourning this tragic loss,” said Matthew Aber, a UC Berkeley freshman.
The highway was closed for several hours following the accident but reopened at 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning.
“It is truly a tragedy that a guy like (Lacanlale), who had everything going for him from an exceptional intellect to gifted athletic ability to one of the kindest personalities I have ever encountered, would have to leave this world so soon,” said Mitchell Flaherty, a childhood friend of Lacanlale’s, on his Facebook page. “Rest in peace.”
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