Robert Orlando was heading home from a fishing trip with two buddies on Monday night, when the car he was riding in spun out of control, crashed into a tree and killed him on the eve before he was set to become a senior at San Ramon Valley High.
"It's devastating," Frank Barrett, Robert's uncle, told NBC Bay Area on Tuesday. "He had just been out fishing with his friends somehwhere in eastern Danville."
Robert's parents and two brothers were "devastated" by the news, Barrett said, and were planning a funeral for the 17-year-old boy who was such a "passionate kid, someone everyone loved."
According to Danville police, Robert was riding in a car on Monday just before 9 p.m. on El Capitan Drive at Claridge Drive near Crow Canyon Country Club, when, for some reason, the driver, another 17-year-old, lost control.
The white car then smashed into a tree and fence.
Barrett said the family is in the dark about what sparked the crash and killed his nephew - an avid fisherman, golfer and football player.
"He was super friendly and was larger than life," said family friend Richard Hein.
At this point, police said it does not appear that drugs or alcohol was involved in the fatal accident.
"There were no open containers or anything like that," Danville Police Chief Steve Simpkins said. “These are young local students who should have been starting school this morning."
The driver suffered broken ribs and the other 16-year-old passenger had a broken leg. Both were in stable condition at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek on Tuesday morning.
As school began on Tuesday morning, students created a memorial to Robert, laying flowers, posters and a golf club by the tree where he died. They wrote on a poster that the class of 2014 was surely going to miss him.
The family asks that people who wish to send thoughts or photos should email firstname.lastname@example.org.