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Missing Berkeley Student Fatally Struck by Car: Police

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    Questions remain over how a Berkeley student ended up running on freeway after leaving a USC frat party a mile away. Beverly White reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Monday, March 30, 2015. (Published Tuesday, March 31, 2015)

    Friends and teammates were grieving Monday after learning that a beloved UC Berkeley student athlete who went missing in Los Angeles over the weekend was fatally struck by a car as he ran across freeway lanes.

    Eloi Vasquez, 19, was hit on the eastbound 10 Freeway east of Vermont Avenue (map) about an hour after friends said they last saw him leaving a party near the USC campus, officials with the Los Angeles Police Department said.

    It was unclear why Vasquez was on the freeway. The 45-year-old driver of the Chevrolet Impala stopped and told California Highway Patrol officers the man was running across lanes and she could not avoid him. The car was going about 60 mph, the CHP said.

    Vasquez was declared dead at the scene. The driver was not arrested.

    "We're heartbroken, we're devastated," said Wesley Mallette, a Cal associate athletics director.

    Vasquez's family did not immediately comment on his death. Police said the family was "very distraught" and asked for privacy.

    Vasquez didn't have ID or money on him when he left the fraternity house party in the 600 block of West 28th Street about 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

    However, he did have a cellphone and had told friends over the phone that he was "going to the beach."

    He was also on the phone with a friend in Northern California about 2:18 a.m. He told her he was "screwed," scared and lost.

    CHP officials said Vasquez was struck by the car about 2:25 a.m. The coroner's office confirmed that the victim was Vasquez.

    Vasquez was a freshman midfielder on the UC Berkeley soccer team. Friends said they made the trip to Los Angeles for spring break.

    "Eloi was a wonderful teammate, he was very close to all of his players and our guys are grieving pretty hard" said Cal soccer coach Kevin Grimes. "I really loved Eloi and I know our teammates did, too."

    The news of his death came as family members announced a $100,000 reward for his safe return and also said they hired a private investigator to help locate the teen from Novato.

    The Cal Athletics website described Vasquez as "a wonderful young man who has excelled both academically and athletically here at Cal."

    "Eloi always had a way of making you laugh and he brought energy to the room," said Vasquez's teammate, Alex Mangels, as he fought back tears.

    A toxicology report was expected to be complete in a few weeks.

     

     

    NBC4's Irene Moore contributed to this report.