UC Berkeley scholar killed in freak accident


19-year-old college student Kevin Lacanlale was identified as the person killed after two cars crashed into a tree that had fallen onto Highway 13 in Oakland early Thursday morning.

Thursday's break in the rain did not bring a break to the weather-related troubles. This horrific accident happened on southbound Highway 13 at Park Blvd. around 4:25 a.m.

It was a case of wet conditions, bad visibility, bad luck, and bad decisions by the occupants of the car. They ran over a fallen tree in the slow lane and when they got out to survey the damage, a second car hit the same tree, splitting it in half. A section of the tree catapulted up the embankment, pinning a woman beneath it. And, that's not the worst of it. The driver, Lacanlale, was still in the road when a third car came along.

"Either the pick-up truck or the Camry ran over the young man who was standing in the lane still and ejected him. He was thrown approximately 60 to 100 feet and landed on the shoulder where he perished," said CHP Sgt. Kerry Grimes.

Lacanlale was originally from Silverdale, Washington and a student at UC Berkeley. He was a very bright student, it turns out. He was the recipient of a Bill Gates Academic Scholarship and had been studying medicine. Those scholarships only go to the best and the brightest. Only about 1,000 of those scholarships are given out every year and they cover everything including tuition, room, and board, all the way through graduate school.

"It's really sad news to hear, I mean, that's just weird because it was someone I knew," said Yoshi Moriyama, a freshman Cal student.

Moriyama lives in Bowles Hall and knew Lacanlale. He hadn't seen the email the RAs sent out to the Bowlesmen.

"Just the fact that Bowles is such a close-knit community, like, it was pretty devastating," said Matt Nguyen, a Cal student.

Classmate Hao Wu is from China and remembers how nice Lacanlale was to him since he was new to the country.

"Kevin had his birthday and I didn't know that because we're not that like familiar, but he came to my dorm and gave me like a piece of cake and I'm really touched because he like remembered me," said Wu.

Cal student Justin Bauzon used to have movie nights with Lacanlale. He says his friend was a hard worker who always wanted to help.

"He really like helping people and he wanted to apply science and helping people together and the medical field just seemed like the most natural for him," said Bauzon.

The RAs had a community meeting for the residents so they could talk about what happened and they also had a school psychologist on hand in case anybody needed to talk.

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