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UCLA football WR Nick Pasquale struck and killed by vehicle

Mel Pasquale is embraced while wearing a shirt with the jersey number of his son, UCLA football wide receiver Nick Pasquale who died after being hit by a car early Sunday morning.

Mel Pasquale is embraced while wearing a shirt with the jersey number of his son, UCLA football wide receiver Nick Pasquale who died after being hit by a car early Sunday morning. Brandon Choe / Daily Bruin

Courtesy of UCLA Athletics

UCLA football wide receiver Nick Pasquale died early Sunday after he was struck by a vehicle, according to an Orange County Sheriff’s Department Coroner’s Office release.

Pasquale was on foot when a vehicle hit him at 1:27 a.m. on Sunday on Camino De Los Mares, west of Calle Nuevo in San Clemente, according to the release. He was pronounced dead at the scene, said Lt. Jeff Hallock, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

The vehicle was identified as a Mercedes sedan and was heading westbound on Camino De Los Mares at the time of the accident, Hallock said. The driver stopped at the scene and called police, Hallock added.

The driver was not cited or arrested at the scene, he added.

There is no indication of alcohol or drug use on the part of the driver at this point, he said. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

The coroner’s office will perform an autopsy to determine Pasquale’s cause of death this week, Hallock said.

Pasquale, who graduated from San Clemente High School in 2012, was entering his redshirt freshman season as a walk-on wide receiver with the UCLA football team. He was 20 years old.

Jaime Ortiz, coach of the San Clemente High School football team who was a defensive coordinator throughout much of Pasquale’s high school career, said Pasquale was the “heart and soul” of the Tritons’ 2011 CIF-Southern Section Pac-5 Division runner-up team.

“We’re a one town, one team high school. It’s a very tight community here in San Clemente, and the (Pasquale) family has had a great impact on San Clemente High School,” Ortiz said. “It’s just something that’s sending shockwaves through our community. As a family, we just have to get close together and get through this all together.”

With a bye this past weekend, UCLA’s football players had a few free days. Some, like Pasquale, returned home to watch their former high school teams play.

Ortiz said Pasquale was on the sidelines during San Clemente’s 35-32 win against Cabrillo High School on Friday night, wearing a UCLA shirt and talking about the great things the team was doing in Westwood.

Hundreds of Pasquale’s teammates, friends and family gathered Sunday night on San Clemente High School’s football field to hold a candlelight vigil in his memory.

After Ortiz, coach Jim Mora addressed the masses gathered around the center of the field, looking directly at Pasquale’s parents, Laurie and Mel, as he spoke.

“He was loved. He was respected. We called him ‘Pac-Man,’ we called him ‘Pacquiao’ after Manny Pacquiao because he was so tough,” Mora said. “I didn’t know him as well as you all knew him, but I knew him well enough, and what you see here just confirms who Nick was.”

Redshirt freshman center Carl Hulick (wearing a hat near center) is surrounded by others mourning the loss of Nick Pasquale at a candlelight vigil. (Brandon Choe/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Mel Pasquale called Mora a “class act” and thanked several of UCLA’s players, including Nick Pasquale’s roommate, redshirt freshman center Carl Hulick, in attendance. He said his son’s passing should leave a greater message within the San Clemente community, who he thanked as well for their large outpouring of support throughout the day and night.

“Nick would be honored right now without a shadow of a doubt,” Mel Pasquale said. “I’m going to miss him dearly. That kid never, I mean ever, stopped. Some of you that are playing today, keep it going. Keep a chip on your shoulder and don’t ever stop. Don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t do it.”

Hulick described the loss of the 5-foot-7-inch, 172-pound receiver as “brutal” for the entire UCLA football team, but one that should inspire the Bruins to leave nothing on the field, the mantra Hulick said Pasquale lived and played by.

“He faced so much adversity every single day and, every single day, he put on his helmet and went completely all out. Every single thing that Nick Pasquale did he did it one hundred percent,” Hulick said. “One thing, the legacy that he’s left is his work ethic and his ability to be just stoked on whatever is going on.”

“Pac’s just the man,” he said. “He’s still going to be the man, and he’s always going to be the man. We all love him.”

UCLA football players and coaches mourned the loss of Pasquale on Twitter:



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  • David

    Prayers. Lotsa prayers to the family.

  • Big Red Nation

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you from Husker Nation.

  • Tom

    From Lincoln, Nebraska our hearts go out to the UCLA family.

  • Allen R. (husker nation)

    Prayers to the family, friends, and Bruin nation.

  • Husker fan in Oregon

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Pasquale family, the driver of the car and family, as well as to the whole UCLA team. God be with all of you as you work through these sad days. Rest in peace, Nick!

  • George

    I imagine there is no pain sharper or more deep than losing a child. From Husker nation our heart and prayers go out to Nick’s family, Bruin nation and all those involved at this most difficult time.
    While there can be no condolences strong enough for such a tragedy, please know that your loss has served to remind me to hug my daughter a little tighter and tell her I love her one more time.

  • IdahoHuskerFan

    Sad news. Bruin nation just know that all Huskers are praying for him, his family and for your team.

  • JustAGuy

    Justin Tomerlin, who briefly was on the Nebraska roster in the mid 2000s, died in his 20s as well. He was from San Clemente. Just a little irony as UCLA prepares to face Nebraska.

  • AnswerMan

    Remember what coach Mora said in 2012 re: a death about USC students:
    “I mean, we don’t have murders one block off our campus.”


  • AnswerMan

    “At least our student athletes don’t get drunk and killed by a vehicle on their off weekend.”

  • AnswerMan

    Shoutout to Jim “At least we don’t have murders a block from our campus” Mora Jr.
    Bonus shoutout to the 1st amendment.

  • Ghuskerdude

    Husker Fan here….May God Bless The Pasquale Family and comfort Bruin Nation.

  • sandy underpants

    George Zimmerman gets away again. How could they not arrest the murderer that struck this young man down before the prime of his life? If all the circumstances are the same and he was drinking, then it’s a murder? What a load of crap.

    • SandySkidmarkUnderpants

      “There is no indication of alcohol or drug use on the part of the driver
      at this point, he said. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.”

      You ought to learn how to read and comprehend.


    • Rico

      WTH are you talking about?

    • San Clemente Supporter

      Two cars were driving in tandem. The first saw Nick crossing and swerved to miss him, but the second was unable to see him quickly enough. It was a tragic accident. Don’t make it political and don’t assign blame when you have no clue of any of the details. Comments like this only hurt the family and the community of San Clemente.

  • Rico

    my heart goes out to the driver who inadvertently killed a random pedestrian crossing the street at 1am. I’m sure he feels really bad and it’s not his fault.