A car was torn in half when it veered off the road and crashed into a pole and tree near Lagunitas in Marin County early Tuesday, killing two brothers and an 18-year-old inside, officials said.
The Marin County coroner identified the passengers as brothers Chancellor Grier Argall, 20, of Woodacre, and Lancelot Mattaeus Argall, 18, of San Anselmo. The driver was Chance Pierre Muerer, 18, of Novato.
JoLynn Taylor, a family friend, said the Argall siblings were "just sweet boys, good hearted boys."
The brothers grew up in Marin County and graduated from Drake High School. Their father Grier Argall owns a well-known plumbing business in San Anselmo.
"They worked with Grier on the plumbing, but they were kids and they didn't really know what they wanted to do with their lives so they were exploring," Taylor said.
Someone spotted the 2013 Toyota Corolla off Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, near the Samuel P. Taylor State Park, and called 911 about midnight, officials said.
When first responders arrived on scene, alongside California Highway Patrol officers and Marin County sheriff's deputies, they found they found the white car had been snapped in half with the three young men inside.
Officials said the car rammed into a power pole and mowed down two trees at the entrance to the popular park. Video at the scene showed the vehicle partly down a ravine.
"It appears they might have taken a turn — at a high rate of speed that wasn't conducive with a turn — and subsequently ran off the road," said CHP officer Andrew Barclay.
CHP officers said the car was heading westbound on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard but swerved into the eastbound lanes and then off the roadway. As of late Tuesday officers did not know what caused the accident.
"When they arrived on scene, they were hoping for the best — to try to extricate or transport someone to the hospital," Marin County Fire Battalion Chief Bret McTigue said. "But when they did arrive on scene, it was very clear that the three subjects had passed away and that there was nothing additional the fire department could do in saving those subjects."
The CHP said all three young men were all wearing seatbelts.
According to Taylor, Chancellor and Lancelot Argall loved their parents and each other. They were their parents' only children and losing them is more than the family can bear.
"At 18 years old, there's a million things these talented, smart, young men could have gone into and that's all done ... that's all gone," Taylor said.
Ian Campbell was shocked by his friend Chance's death and said he will be missed.
"Chance Argall was the definition of a true friend," he said. "He was relentless in his pursuit to be the most loyal and loving person to his friends and family — even to people he had just met — through absolutely everything."
He experienced "some hard times in school but never showed it," Campbell said.
Chance's friend Justin McGuinness echoed the same sentiment.
"Chance was one of the strongest people I knew," he said. "He was also a very humble man, willing to help out his friends in any situation, however he could. Things never came easy for Chance, yet he always made the most he could out of them."
Neither Campbell nor McGuinness explained what struggles they were referring to in Chance Argall's life.