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Mourning and questions after USC freshman killed walking on 110 Freeway days before classes began

Corona del Mar’s Matthew Olson
Corona del Mar’s Matthew Olson (23) during a Surf League volleyball match against Huntington Beach.
(Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

Authorities on Monday said they were still investigating why a USC freshman got onto the 110 Freeway near campus, where he was fatally struck a few days before classes began.

Matthew Olson, 18, was walking south on the freeway early Saturday when he was hit by two cars, according to a California Highway Patrol news release.

Authorities said Olson was walking between two FasTrak lanes when a car to the right of him hit him at 2:43 a.m. Olson fell into another FasTrak lane and then was struck by another vehicle, which did not stop.

The driver of the first car stopped to help before the Los Angeles Fire Department arrived. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

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“It is unknown at this time why [Olson] was walking in the freeway lanes,” the CHP said in the news release.

Officer Roberto Gomez, a CHP spokesman, said Monday morning that there was no new information about the crash.

Olson recently had graduated from Corona del Mar High School, where he played on the basketball and volleyball teams. In 2018, his volleyball team won the national championship and he earned the Coach’s Award for Hardest Working Player, USC officials said in a statement.

Corona del Mar High School Principal Kathy Scott met with staff Monday morning about Olson’s death and said resources would be available to students, who start school next week.

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“This is an unbelievably tragic situation that the family and our community is faced with,” she said in a statement. “We understand that a loss like this can be traumatic and that everyone grieves differently. We have supports and resources available to staff and students who may be affected by this tragedy.”

According to USC’s academic calendar, move-in day was Wednesday. Olson would have been studying business at the university.

“Our heartfelt condolences are with Matt’s parents, family and friends as they mourn this terrible loss,” the university said in a statement.

The Southern California Volleyball Assn. posted a tribute to Olson on Facebook with comments from his coaches.

“Matt Olson was the heart and soul of the team,” said one of his coaches, Matt Marrujo. “It is impossible to measure the impact he had on his teammates. He was an incredible young man that lived his life to fullest. Matt was the type of player that made me a better coach and person.”


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