OLDSMAR — There are 100 voice mail messages on Cristobal Cordano's cell phone.
His mom hasn't gone through them yet. She's getting calls from people she hasn't heard from in years, people she doesn't know.
Everyone knew Cris.
The charismatic East Lake High School graduate was figuring out his next steps in life, his family said, when it came abruptly to an end.
Mr. Cordano, of Oldsmar, died after a car accident about 6:30 p.m. Monday. He was 21.
Mr. Cordano and friend Deavon Rudd, 16, were leaving Clearwater Beach in a 1998 Mazda 626 and driving south on Mandalay Avenue when a northbound 1995 GMC conversion van suddenly made a left turn in front of the Mazda, according to Clearwater police spokeswoman Joelle Castelli.
The front of the Mazda hit the back of the GMC. Neither Mr. Cordano nor Rudd were wearing seatbelts. The driver of the GMC, Mario Ghiloni, 25, of Ohio, was taken to Bayfront Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. Rudd was taken to Largo Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. Mr. Cordano was pronounced dead at Morton Plant Hospital.
Charges are pending in the ongoing investigation, Castelli said.
Mr. Cordano, who played football and lacrosse, suffered from epilepsy and had brain surgery in 2003, said his mother, Diane Peasley. He was interested in pursuing a medical career. He took some general classes at St. Petersburg College but had taken a few semesters off to work at various jobs. He recently moved into his own place and was planning to return to SPC next semester. "He had just started his life and that was cut short," Peasley said.
His family remembers him as a sports fan who loved to go grouper digging and jet skiing. He liked music and wrote down the lyrics to rap songs.
He would harmonize to the Backstreet Boys with his step-sister, Shea Sullivan, 17. He made sure no one messed with her in school. Mostly, she remembers their talks. "Personal stuff: boys, girls, things going on with our family, school, anything," Shea said. "We talked about everything."
Funeral arrangements have not yet been made. Mr. Cordano is survived by his mother, his father, Angelo Cordano; his step-mother, Tracy Cordano; his brother, Nicolas Cordano, 16; his half brother, Ryan Cordano, 26; his step-sister and his step-brother, Cory Robertson, 15.
Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report. Tamara El-Khoury can be reached at (727) 445-4181 or firstname.lastname@example.org.