CAMPBELL (BCN) As many as 1,000 people gathered in Campbell Thursday evening at a vigil memorial for a much-loved high school athlete, who was killed in a car accident earlier this week.
A 17-year-old Kirk Vasquez died in a car crash in Campbell on Tuesday evening, police and the Santa Clara County medical examiner's office confirmed.
Vasquez was a student and baseball player at Westmont High School. He had committed to the University of the Pacific to play baseball after graduation, and had a bright future ahead of him, friends and loved ones said on social media.
Vasquez's family said the large showing at the vigil on campus was helping them get through a tough time. “It’s beautiful. Keep sharing stories, that’s how we keep him alive," they said.
His club baseball team, the California Bulldogs, plans to do something to honor Kirk this season.
“We’re playing for him. I think this will bring us closer as a school and community," said the team's head baseball coach. "He will forever be a warrior and he will forever be in my heart.”
At about 6:10 p.m. Tuesday, police responded to the area of northbound San Tomas Expressway between Winchester Boulevard and Budd Avenue to a report of a vehicle crashed into a tree.
Vasquez was the only occupant of the car and was extricated by Santa Clara County firefighters. He was rushed to a hospital for surgery but died that night, police Capt. Gary Berg said.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but Berg said it may have been a result of rainy conditions and the speed of the vehicle. No one else was injured.
The Bulldogs said on Twitter that Vasquez would be missed dearly.
"He was a great kid that touched many hearts," the team wrote.
It also retired his jersey, No. 8, and started a campaign to "#playfor8."
Others who coached or played with Vasquez said he was a great competitor, and a bright and funny teammate. The Campbell Union High School District said the community is deeply saddened by his death.
"As our community grieves for the loss of a young life, our thoughts remain with the family, friends, students, staff and others impacted by this event," school district officials said in a statement.
A Gofundme has been created to benefit Vasquez's parents.
Journey begins for #playfor8. 8 will be a retired number for us and we will hang this banner in our facility for Kirk. Thank you for the support from all our baseball friends and family. @Clemmens_PBR @PBR_California @ryozella @BayAreaWS @joeycentanni @GarkoRyan pic.twitter.com/bm5fWR0NdX— California Bulldogs (@cabulldogsBB) February 28, 2019
Our Bulldog family has lost a great one last night. Kirk Vasquez (2020 Westmont HS) passed after getting into a car accident. He was a great kid that touched many hearts. We will miss him dearly. #onceabulldogalwaysabulldog @NCTBBaseball @Clemmens_PBR @PBR_California pic.twitter.com/fN1Nz1VLDV— California Bulldogs (@cabulldogsBB) February 27, 2019
KTVU reporter Jesse Gary contributed to this report.