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The salutatorian of Central Kitsap High School’s graduating class last year was killed Thursday morning in a car accident in California where he was attending the University of California Berkeley on a coveted Gates Millennium Scholarship.

Kevin Lacanlale, 19, of Silverdale, died in a traffic accident on a Highway 13, a freeway in the Oakland Hills.

Lacanlale and three passengers were on the road around 4:30 a.m. when his car hit a tree that had fallen on the highway following days of rainy weather, the Associated Press reported.

While he and his friends were outside the car, a pickup driven by a 59-year-old man also hit the tree and went airborne, fatally injuring  Lacanlale, according to the California Highway Patrol.

According to the Kitsap Sun, Lacanlale was a National Advanced Placement scholar and one of only 1,000 students to be named a  Gates Millennium Scholar.

His family told the Sun that Lacanlale was studying biology and hoped to pursue medicine.

Central Kitsap High School Principal Steve Coons told the Sun that Lacanlale, ” represented the very best of CKHS. This is a huge loss for his family, school and community.”

Police said it did not appear that alcohol or drugs played a role in the accident.