DANVILLE -- Robert Orlando had some free time Monday, and with his senior year at San Ramon Valley High looming the next day, he and two buddies grabbed their fishing poles and went looking, as a close family friend put it, for "that one last cast" of the summer.
The idyllic day ended in tragedy when Orlando died and his two friends were injured after their car crashed around 8:50 p.m. Monday on El Capitan Drive. The three were returning home and were about five minutes from the Orlando home in Danville.
"The family is not well at all. They're devastated, as you can imagine," said Robert Hein, a close family friend. "They have a lot of support, which they are grateful for, but there is nothing that can curb the pain they are feeling."
Police have not determined what caused the white, compact car in which Orlando, 17, was a passenger, to suddenly skid from the northbound direction, across the street and into a tree. Neighbor Don Kroger was inside watching television when he heard tires screeching.
"It sounded like he was overcorrecting and his end was fishtailing," Kroger said. Kroger, whose wife called 911, added there had been multiple accidents at the very same curve in the past and said he'd like the Danville Town Council to do something about it.
"I think they should put a stop sign here," he said Tuesday, standing at the intersection of El Capitan and Claridge drives, about 100 feet from the scene of the crash.
A curbside memorial marked the spot on Tuesday, with white, red and pink flowers near a sign resting against the tree that said, "Robert O. SRVHS Class of 2014 Misses You." A lone golf club and a team picture of last season's San Ramon Valley High golf team, of which Orlando was a member, sat nearby.
The investigation into the crash will be lengthy, Danville police Chief Steve Simpkins said. "Investigators were here most of the night measuring skid marks. We will do a very scientific analysis, and hopefully we can find some answers," Simpkins said.
Fire crews had to extricate the teens from the car. Orlando was taken to San Ramon Regional Medical Center, where he later died.
The 17-year-old driver of the vehicle and a 17-year-old passenger, who have not been identified, were taken to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. The driver suffered broken ribs, and the passenger had a broken leg. Both were in stable condition on Tuesday, police said.
All three were seniors at the school, San Ramon Valley Unified School District spokesman Terry Koehne said.
"It's a tough day, and there are going to be tough days ahead," Koehne said. "But this is a very resilient community."
News of Orlando's death shook the San Ramon Valley High campus, which began its school year on Tuesday with grief counselors on hand and¿ a moment of silence.
"It was really surreal," said senior Shannon Steffen, 17. "You could tell his friends were in shock. Most of them didn't go to school. No one wanted to talk about it."
Said Koehne: "Any day on campus when something like this happens is an awful day. But to have it on the first day, to have grief counselors here on the first day is hard to even conceive."
At the Orlando home, friends and relatives gathered on Tuesday, and an American flag flew over the driveway. Hein, a close family friend who said he's known Orlando's dad, Phillip, for more than 40 years, said the middle child of three Orlando boys had aspirations to attend UC Davis and had a passion for people.
One of Orlando's teammates from the school golf team said he stood out.
"He was kind of the class clown," said Will Greer, 16. "He was always joking and making people laugh."
Still, his uncle, Frank Barrett, said what Orlando may have liked more than anything was fishing. He loved the outdoors, too, he said, but nothing seemed to light him up more than the challenge of catching fish.
"He studied maps of rivers and read fishing magazines," Barrett said. "He poured everything he had into what he cared about."
The family, at the request of Orlando's mother, Anna-Maria, is asking friends of Orlando to send any pictures they may have of the teen with his friends to firstname.lastname@example.org. The family said a funeral service will take place in San Ramon sometime after Labor Day.
Staff writer Erin Ivie contributed to this report. Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4789 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rderh.