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EL CAJON, Calif. — A community is in shock after learning about the death of a 24-year-old South Bay soccer star who was killed in a tragic crash over the weekend.

El Cajon police said officers found the body of Chula Vista resident Dante Giancarlo Longo in the driver’s seat of a BMW near the 400 block of Vernon Way early Sunday morning. According to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office, Longo was traveling west on Vernon Way when he crossed the line of traffic and collided with a parked box truck at around 3 a.m.

The victim’s college soccer coach at Cal State San Marcos says Longo was an amazing player who had a lot of impact on the community. 

“I couldn’t believe it, to be honest with you,” coach Ron Pulvers said. “It took another phone call from another person to believe that it was real.”

Shocked and numb, Pulvers and coach Tom Green, Longo’s mentor at GreenSpeed Training Facility, can’t believe a crash has happened again.

“He was in a really bad accident in 2018 that almost took his life and he was in a coma and survived that,” Green said. “And for this to happen a second and for him not to survive was really shocking.”

The crash comes just two weeks after another South Bay star athlete, Micah Pietila-Wiggs, died in a crash after colliding with a concrete barrier in San Ysidro.

“I think we just really need to be alert and use some of these situations as learning tools,” Green said.

Pulvers says Longo’s recovery after his first crash was so inspiring to his team that they named an award after him. 

“The first moment I met him, he’s got a real magnetism about him,” Pulvers said. “He draws people in and he’s got so many great qualities that make him a special person most importantly.”

Longo leaves behind his mother, father and siblings, along with teammates who will never forget him as a person.

“I’m getting multiple messages of how he was helping people that I didn’t even know he was helping and it’s overwhelming to me the positive feedback,” Pulvers said. “It’s pouring into the inbox of what he has done for people and everyone’s just blown away.”

Teammates are planning a candlelight vigil at Moonlight Beach in honor of Dante from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday evening.