BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Highland High School students, teachers, coaches, parents and Derrick Duff's younger brother and mother paid tribute to the 18-year-old star basketball player, who was killed early Saturday while returning from a spring break vacation in Pismo Beach.
Hundreds of people gathered Monday night at the basketball court located in the complex where Duff lived for a candlelight vigil.
The untimely and tragic death has stunned the Highland High School community, while bringing the already close group even closer.
The California Highway Patrol said Duff was in the back seat of a jeep traveling south on Highway 101 near Nipomo when the jeep drifted into the center divider and crashed.
Duff was ejected from the Jeep and then hit by other vehicles. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Friends told Eyewitness News that the Jeep in which he was riding was without its roof.
Classmates said Duff walked the halls of Highland the way he walked through life, smiling from ear to ear.
Duff had dreams of playing college basketball and then eventually becoming a police officer.
A memorial will be held Thursday at Valley Bible Fellowship. Duff will be laid to rest in his hometown of Aurora, Ill.