California Golden Bears soccer player Eloi Vasquez died early Saturday morning after being struck by a vehicle on Interstate 10 just before 2:30 a.m., according to multiple reports. He was 19 years old.
Friends reported Vasquez missing after he left a fraternity party on the campus of the University of Southern California on Saturday morning. He was believed to have been drinking at the party, according to witnesses cited by KABC Los Angeles. According to Inside Bay Area, Vasquez indicated to friends he wished to go for a walk, possibly to the beach, despite the fact that there is no beach within easy walking distance from his location. At 2:18 a.m., he called a friend and indicated he was lost and scared, Inside Bay Area reported.
The car that hit Vasquez was traveling approximately 60 miles per hour, authorities said. Vasquez did not have identification with him at the time of the incident, KTLA Los Angeles reported, leading to a frantic search effort that began on Saturday morning. The story spread through social media and the Vasquez family offered a $100,000 reward for information regarding his whereabouts, but the search concluded on Monday when his body was identified.
The California athletic department tweeted its condolences Monday, saying "Today we lost a beloved member of the #CalFamily, Eloi Vasquez."
The NCAA joined with Cal, saying it mourned the loss of Vasquez.
"Although he only spent a little over a semester here at Cal, his impact was huge, certainly on me. I really loved Eloi and I know our teammates did too," Vasquez's soccer coach Kevin Grimes told KTLA.
Cal teammate Jose Carrera-Garcia called Vasquez "one of the most hard-working players I've ever met."
- Will Green