In his final Instagram post, Kevin Callejas wrapped his left arm around his aunt as the pair flashed wide smiles for the camera. In a caption, he wrote: “Our family is a circle of strength and love. With every birth and union it grows and every crises faced makes the circle stronger.”
That strength now faces its ultimate test as Mr. Callejas’ family tries to comprehend his sudden loss.
Mr. Callejas, a 2014 Shoreham-Wading River High School graduate, was killed in a single-car crash early Saturday morning on William Floyd Parkway in Shoreham, Suffolk County police said. He was 19.
Mr. Callejas was pronounced dead at the scene after a Seventh Precinct officer observed a 2005 Suzuki overturned in the wooden median around 5:45 a.m., police said. Mr. Callejas was driving in the northbound lanes. The cause of the accident is under investigation, police said, and the vehicle was impounded for a safety check.
In high school, Mr. Callejas excelled academically and was one of six students from the Class of 2014 to graduate a year early. Cami Drouin-Allaire, a fellow classmate who also graduated a year early, said she grew close to Mr. Callejas as they scrambled to complete all their coursework.
During their graduation ceremony, the six students who achieved the distinction were asked to stand in order to be acknowledged.
“He obviously stood up as I did, so that’s kind of my last impression, how we were both able to get our work done to be able to graduate early, which is a pretty great achievement,” Ms. Drouin-Allaire said. “It shows his work ethic.”
At the time, Ms. Drouin-Allaire said, Mr. Callejas hoped to enter the medical field and possibly attend medical school.
“He was always really kind,” she said. “He was always really respectful no matter what. His family was really important to him.”
High school principal Dan Holtzman echoed those statements.
“Kevin was an academically-minded student who enrolled in challenging coursework,” he said in a statement. “He was well-liked by his peers, teachers and administrators. He was, more importantly, a respectful and genuine young man.”
Paige Thomas, another classmate who graduated a year early with Mr. Callejas, recalled on Facebook how they became close friends during their senior year. They would always laugh, she wrote, when a substitute teacher attempted to pronounce his last name, usually incorrectly, as “Ca-lee-ges” or “Ca-jay-has.”
“Most of my memories of Callejas were happy,” she wrote. “I can’t believe he’s gone, I really can’t.”
A visitation for Mr. Callejas was held at Alexander-Tuthill Funeral Home on Tuesday. A funeral service took place Wednesday at St. Mark’s R.C. Church in Shoreham, followed by interment at Wading River Cemetery.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help support the family at gofundme.com/teamkevincallejas. As of Wednesday morning, more than $2,500 had been raised toward a goal of $25,000.
Detectives are asking for anyone with information about the crash to call the Seventh Squad at 631-852-8752.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated to reflect the print version published in the June 2 issue.
CORRECTIONS: The Instagram photo featured Mr. Callejas and his aunt, not his mother. And the number of students who graduated a year early in 2014 was six, not five.