Mourners gathered at Cal Poly Pomona Friday night to honor a student who was struck and killed while riding his bicycle on campus, and demanded the university take action to prevent another tragedy.
Ivan Arturo Aguilar, 21, was traveling along Kellogg Drive Thursday afternoon when a motorist crashed into him near the bridge that passes over Eucalyptus Lane.
"When I started hearing the news, my hands went numb and I just couldn’t believe it," said Mitchell Loera, childhood friend. "I just started crying."
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"All of this just seems like a dream," Loera added. "I just want to wake up and have him back."
The collision happened about 12:45 p.m. Paramedics took Aguilar to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to a news release from the campus.
Candles, photos and flowers mark the scene where Aguilar was fatally struck. Nearly 50 of his friends and co-eds gathered at the site Friday evening to remember the man who they said had a special way of lifting others' spirits.
"He’s a person that came into the room and just lit up the whole room. He brought a smile to all our faces all the time," said Danny Ledezman, friend and co-chair of campus group Hermanos Unidos, to which Aguilar belonged.
"I've lost a brother and it breaks my heart," he added.
Aguilar studied communication at the public university, which enrolls about 20,000 undergraduate students. His friends said Aguilar had aspirations of becoming a journalist.
"If there was someone who I could see being on TV, it was probably him," Loera said. "He had so much energy and it’s just really sad."
A Facebook page honoring Aguilar had garnered more than 900 "likes" by Friday evening and boasts dozens of pictures with Aguilar and his friends. A fundraiser has been established to help pay for the victim’s funeral costs.
Nearly two weeks before Thursday’s fatal crash, a bike blogger who identifies himself as a teacher at Cal Poly Pomona urged the campus to install bike lanes and stop signs along the university’s busier thoroughfares – including Kellogg Drive, where Aguilar was killed.
Drivers' "high speeds understandably deter people from bicycling on these roads, despite the fact that they are the most convenient routes to the main campus," the post noted.
At the vigil Friday, Aguilar's friends echoed that call for on-campus bike lanes.
The university is offering counseling to those who witnessed Thursday's crash. The Pomona Police Department is handling the investigation, the school said.
NBC4/Telemundo's Alex Vasquez contributed to this report.