A 20-year-old UCLA football player was struck and killed by a car in San Clemente Sunday.
Nicholas Pasquale, a redshirt freshman wide receiver, was walking in the early morning hours on a street when he was hit by a car, according to the Orange County coroner's office. The crash was on Camino de Dos Mares, east of Interstate 5 and west of Calle Nuevo, in San Clemente.
The motorist, who had been driving a Mercedes sedan, stayed at the scene and was not charged with any crime or infraction, said Lt. Jeff Hallock of the Orange County Sheriff's Department. But the case remained open today.
"No drugs or alcohol have been found to have been factors for the driver," Hallock said. "An autopsy report and later toxicology information will determine factors for the pedestrian."
San Clemente High School football coach Jaime Ortiz told the San Clemente Times newspaper that Pasquale was a true team player. "Nick was the epitome of what a (San Clemente) Triton was all about." said Ortiz, for whom Pasquale was a three-year starter and a ball boy as a youth.
"His older brother, A.J., played as well. His dad is on our football coaching staff as director of football operations," Ortiz said.
Pasquale was a key member of the 2011 San Clemente High CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division runner-up team, the newspaper reported.
"During his senior year he was the heart and soul of that team," Ortiz said. "He was everything you wanted in a player."
Pasquale was a walk-on at UCLA who played in the Bruins' season-opening win last week against Nevada. He sat out last season as a redshirt, which means he was able to preserve a year of NCAA eligibility to play.
"This is a tragic loss," UCLA head football coach Jim Mora said. "Nick was an outstanding young man who had a positive impact on everyone who knew him.
"He was a great teammate who was loved and respected by his entire team," Mora said. "Our thoughts are with the Pasquale family."