Anyone who wondered how much 17 year old Frank Vasquez was loved by his classmates at Steinbrenner High School got a clear and decisive answer Sunday.
That's when hundreds crowded onto the football field of the Lutz school for a candlelight vigil to say goodbye.
"Frank was a one of a kind person and he was the life of the party and everybody will miss him, he cared about everyone," said friend Marissa Hibel.
Vasquez died Sunday just one day after an SUV driven by 23 year old Matthew John West slammed into the SUV Vasquez and girlfriend Kaylee Baer were sitting in.
Baer remains at the hospital and is expected to survive.
A makeshift memorial sat at the dead end on Sunlake Road just north of County Line Road in Lutz where Vasquez and Baer were parked early Saturday morning.
That's when investigators say West slammed into them from behind, causing both vehicles to flip over.
West initially ran from the scene but later turned himself in.
The fact that so many showed up to honor Vasquez at Sundays candlelight vigil surprised no one in attendance.
"It just proves how good of a guy he was, everyone loved Frank," said friend Jesse Primmer.
The senior wrestler was described as the life of the party known for his full beard and big personality.
"He just shaved his beard and everybody thought he looked 12 and he said he'd never shave his beard again," said Hibel.
Steinbrenner senior Zachary Kennedy was best friends with the young man known affectionately as "Frank the Tank"
Kennedy says he watched his best friend die.
"I just witnessed my best friend since 7th grade dying, it was kind of heart stopping. I still can't fathom that he's gone," said Kennedy.
Students at Steinbrenner say they'll lean on each other to get by and even though they are heartbroken by the loss of Vasquez they'll hang on to the good times instead of his tragic death.
"He wouldn't want no one, like, being down about it," said Primmer.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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