Missing Berkeley student was struck and killed on L.A. freeway

Posted Mar 31, 2015 by Nathan Salant
A U.C. Berkeley student athlete who was the subject of a frantic search after he disappeared from a fraternity party in Los Angeles early Saturday has been found dead, authorities said Monday.
TRAGEDY: U.C. Berkeley student Eloi Vasquez was struck and killed early Saturday on Interstate 10 in...
TRAGEDY: U.C. Berkeley student Eloi Vasquez was struck and killed early Saturday on Interstate 10 in Los Angeles. He was 19.
Photo courtesy L.A. Police Department
Etoi Sanchez was struck and killed while trying to run across the Interstate 10 freeway near the University of Southern California campus at around 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning, the Los Angeles Police Department said.
Sanchez, 19, had left a party he was attending with soccer teammates and friends, apparently to take a walk, according to the Oakland Tribune newspaper.
But the sophomore soccer player was unfamiliar with his surroundings and was not carrying any identification, the newspaper said.
At 2:18 a.m., Vasquez telephoned a friend in Berkeley to say he was lost and worried about the area he was in.
At 2:25 a.m., the LAPD received word that a driver reported striking and killing a man running across the freeway.
Responding emergency medical workers declared Vasquez dead at 2:31 a.m., the newspaper said, but could not identify him because he had no identification.
His family did not learn that Vasquez had been killed until Monday, the newspaper said.
"We're devastated, such a loss of life," his aunt, Beth Crespan, told the newspaper.
"He had such a future ahead of him," she said, "It's the worst outcome imaginable."
On Sunday, friends and family had gathered in Los Angeles to search for Vasquez and to offer a $100,000 reward for information about his whereabouts.
His family visited the morgue and recognized Vasquez from his clothing, Crespan said.
Officials were able to use his fingerprints and driver's license to officially identify him, police said.
The driver who struck Vasquez, a 45-year-old woman, remained at the scene and cooperated with the California Highway Patrol, officials said.
She was not charged, a CHP spokesman said.
"The guys are grieving pretty hard right now, said Kevin Grimes, the Berkeley soccer coach, at an impromptu press conference outside Memorial Stadium on the Berkeley campus.
"We're just looking to get through this."
Goalkeeper Alex Mangels said Vasquez was soft-spoken but could always make teammates laugh.
"He brought energy to the room," Mangels said.
The Cal team is considering honoring Vasquez at its final spring home game on April 29, the newspaper said.