A man who lost his brother and teenage nephew in a deadly car crash last week just outside of Poway High School opened up to NBC 7 and said the two were inseparable.
“It’s hard to know that they’re not going to be around anymore,” said Tom Pirolli.
Steve Pirolli, 54, and his 14-year-old son Stephen Pirolli were leaving Poway High School after the teen finished baseball practice on the campus when the vehicle they were in was broadsided by a 19-year-old driver Friday evening.
Steve Pirolli died at the scene and his son was taken to Rady Children’s Hospital, where he later died.
“We were having a late dinner, so we probably got a call at about 8 and we were there in 15 minutes,” Tom Pirolli recalled about hearing of the tragedy.
The father and son, who were from Rancho Bernardo, were a dynamic duo in which Stephen looked up to his father as a source for inspiration while Steve looked at his son as his pride and joy.
“My brother was just so proud of Steven and whenever he did something great, he couldn’t wait to tell us about it,” Tom said. “And Steven was very proud of his dad. I think he was truly a role model.”
The two shared a love for baseball and Steve oftentimes would coach Stephen’s teams. The older Pirolli was described as a devoted father while his son is remembered as a wonderful young man.
“They were just incredibly close,” Tom said. “They went everywhere together, they did everything together. They would come over pretty frequently and I would almost never see one of them without the other.”
Tom said the family has received an overwhelming amount of support and he thanks the community for coming together to be there for his loved ones during this difficult time.
A spokesperson for Poway Unified School District confirmed Stephen was their student, but did not specify which school he attended.
“We are deeply saddened by the news that one of our students has passed away. We know this will deeply impact many friends, classmates, and staff who knew the student,” the district said in a statement. “We will have a team of counselors available to support any students and staff who have been affected by this loss. We will be reaching out to the family to express our deepest condolences and how our community might support them during this difficult time.”
The other driver involved in the car crash was also hospitalized and treated for minor injuries. Police said drugs and alcohol do not appear to have been a factor in the tragedy.