Coroner awaits test results of soccer player hit by car

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The coroner’s office said Tuesday it will await the results of blood and urine tests before determining what caused the death of a University of California, Berkeley, soccer player who was hit by a car on a Los Angeles freeway.

Medical examiners usually determine someone hit by a car died of blunt force traumas. But because of the circumstances in the death of Eloi Vasquez, the doctor handling the autopsy opted to wait as long as 10 weeks for the toxicology results, coroner’s Lt. Fred Corral said.

Vasquez, 19, was killed as he ran across eastbound Interstate 10 about a mile from the University of Southern California after attending a Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity party during his spring break visit to Los Angeles.

The University of Southern California said in a statement that it is “still looking into the circumstances that led to this young man’s death and will do all we can to support the authorities in their investigation.”

The USC chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon voluntarily suspended all social activities out of respect for Vasquez and his family, said Alex Baker, a spokesman for the Tau Kappa Epsilon International Fraternity, based in Indiana.

Baker said the fraternity is cooperating with authorities investigating Vasquez’s death and working with the university.

“University of Southern California has acknowledged that the Beta-Sigma chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon had the proper security procedures in place including a third-party security company,” Baker said.

Baker, in an emailed response, didn’t answer questions about the fraternity’s alcohol policy or discipline history. USC also didn’t respond to additional questions.

California Highway Patrol investigators were trying to determine why Vasquez was on the freeway, said Officer Chris Baldonado.

So far, they have found no video or people who witnessed the collision or saw Vasquez getting onto the freeway just east of Vermont Avenue, Baldonado said.

A woman who was driving down the freeway at 60 mph said a man ran in front of her before dawn Saturday and she was unable to avoid hitting him, authorities said.

Vasquez died at the scene. He was carrying no wallet or identification when he left the party, and it took two days for authorities to learn his name.

His mother, Wendy Margolin, said Vasquez was leaving the party to take a walk and later called a friend, telling her he was lost and in trouble.

Wesley Mallette, associate athletic director at the Berkeley campus, said Vasquez was a “wonderful young man, a fantastic student-athlete, dedicated and devoted to everything he did.”

Vasquez, a freshman, traveled with other teammates to Southern California for the break and was supposed to return Monday to resume the semester, coach Kevin Grimes said.

Vasquez was a midfielder. He had hurt his knee during the year and was still recovering from surgery in December.

His coach described him as one of the hardest workers on the team and said he always stayed after practice.

His youth soccer coaches would have to change the lock on the equipment shed to ensure he didn’t work too hard on his own, Grimes said.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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