OAKLAND -- A UC Berkeley freshman from Washington died Thursday after the car he was driving along Highway 13 in the Oakland hills hit a tree that had fallen across the road.
Kevin Lacanlale, 19, and his three passengers survived the initial crash.
But after the four got out of the Toyota sedan, which had come to a stop near the center median, a pickup truck came through, hitting the tree, the car, and then the driver, CHP Officer Sam Morgan said.
Lacanlale was studying on a prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship, awarded to the nation's most promising high school graduates. He planned to study medical engineering and aspired to become a doctor, said Stephen Coons, principal of Central Kitsap High School in Silverdale, Wash. Coons said Lacanlale graduated from Central Kitsap in 2011 at the top of his class.
"He was a fabulous mathematician. He was a fabulous scientist," he said. "He was a superstar."
The crashes happened after a tree fell across both southbound lanes of the freeway, south of Park Boulevard, around 4:20 a.m.
The three passengers suffered minor injuries and were taken to a hospital. Lacanlale, who was originally reported as being 18, died at the scene. The pickup driver suffered moderate injuries, Morgan said.
The roadway was closed for more than three hours, authorities said.
Local authorities didn't say Thursday whether Lacanlale was a UC Berkeley student, but that was confirmed by the Kitsap Sun in Silverdale, Wash.
Coons, who worked with Lacanlale on his college applications, said he felt sickened by the news.
"This is going to sting," he said.