POWAY, Calif. – Support is pouring in for a local family after a deadly car crash took the lives of a father and son as they were leaving a North County high school.
“She was at the scene and she was screaming, and I couldn’t even really understand what she was saying,” said Tom Pirolli, whose brother Steve and nephew Stephen were killed in the crash.
The crash happened just after 7 p.m. Friday as the two were leaving a baseball practice at Poway High School. According to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, they were turning off the north parking lot of the school out onto Espola Road when they were hit by a 19-year-old driving a Mercedes.
Steve Pirolli, 54, died at the scene of the crash; while son Stephen was taken to Rady Children’s Hospital, where he later was pronounced dead.
Family say the two bonded over baseball. Steve played the sport in college and passed the love of the game onto his son, who Tom Pirolli remarked was a heck of a player for a 13-year-old.
“He was very good,” Pirolli said.
But their father-son relationship went well beyond home plate.
“I almost never saw one without the other,” Pirolli said. “They have the closest relationship between father and a child that age of anybody I know.”
Tom remembers his brother as man with reason, quick to step in if things got heated.
“You know, he was kind of our family’s peacemaker,” he said.
A GoFundMe campaign to help with medical and funeral costs already has raised nearly $100,000 as of Tuesday. The only word for the outpouring is “humbled,” Pirolli said.
“We don’t deserve the kindness people have given us, I don’t have any words,” he said.
Authorities say the 19-year-old driver of the other vehicle was taken to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido for non-life-threatening injuries. Alcohol and drugs are not believed to be a factor in the crash.
“He’s probably just hurt beyond belief, and we want him to find some way through this so he can have a happy and productive life,” Pirolli said.