Local News

Apr 6, 2010 12:11 AM by Ariel Wesler

Cal Poly death stuns students and staff

Students at Cal Poly lost a close friend over the weekend.

21-year-old Matthew Hurlbutt was hit by a car early Sunday morning while walking across the freeway. Investigators suspect he had been drinking.

Matthew Hurlbutt was a junior majoring in industrial engineering at Cal Poly. Orginally from Upland, California, Investigators believe he had been drinking when he decided to walk across traffic on the 101 Freeway Sunday morning. Fellow engineering students who recently found out were devasted.

"Today, it's just, I need to get through the day, said Derek Baptista," a junior majoring in industrial engineering.

He had several classes with matthew this year and was just getting to know him.

"He was always upbeat, always had something good and fun to say. He was always energetic," Baptista said.

Professors say they could count on him and in a department of about 300 students, he stood out.

"An excellent student. He was a class leader. Everybody liked him, so I used him a lot for helping other students in class," said Engineering Professor David Wilson.

"The department is really pretty close. We get to know each other quite a bit, so I saw him outside of class," said Liz Schlemer, a professor who knew Hurlbutt well.

A hard worker both in and out of the classroom, Hurlbutt worked at the Albertson's in the Foothill plaza for the last two years and lived off campus in the Mustang Village Apartments. Many who knew Hurlbutt call his actions uncharacterstic.

"That wasn't the kind of kid he was. He was just a kid," Schlemer said.

A kid with one bad judgement call that cut his life short.

A few professors say they will consider observing a moment of silence. The school has tentative plans for a memorial service on Thursday or Friday.

Investigators do not believe the driver who hit Hurlbutt was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Cal Poly administrators plan to send out a campus-wide email regarding Hurlbutt's death in the next couple of days.

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