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Ventura County

Student Killed in Crash

January 05, 2002|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT | TIMES STAFF WRITER

An 18-year-old Moorpark College student was killed early Friday when he crashed his sport utility vehicle into a tree.

Anton Sokolow-Nikolic, an Oak Park High School graduate and former standout varsity golfer, died at the scene of the crash, which occurred shortly after midnight in the unincorporated area of Lake Sherwood, authorities said.

"He was well-liked and very involved in school activities," said Dave Becker, assistant principal at Oak Park High.

"We're a small high school and many, many students have been affected by his passing."

Sokolow-Nikolic, who lived in Oak Park with his mother and younger brother, worked part time as a caddy at Sherwood Country Club, where he carried clubs during the Williams World Challenge in mid-December.

"He was pretty new here but had worked a couple of tournaments and came out three or four times a week," said Andy Hermes, a co-worker at the club. "What a shock."

Sokolow-Nikolic's death is the fourth traffic fatality in Ventura County this year. His death also marks the latest in a string of fatal crashes in the Thousand Oaks area involving teenagers.

Since July, seven youths have been killed in car crashes in and around the city.

On Wednesday, the families of two 16-year-old Westlake High School students buried their sons, who were killed in a Dec. 28 crash in Thousand Oaks.

California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Reid, whose agency is handling the investigation into Sokolow-Nikolic's death, said the cause of the crash has not been determined.

Reid, however, said there were no skid marks and no evidence in the vehicle that Sokolow-Nikolic had been drinking.

Officers did not know as of late Friday where the youth had been prior to the crash.

According to authorities, Sokolow-Nikolic was driving his mother's Chevrolet Blazer westbound on Potrero Road when he crashed into a large tree on the north side of the road, just west of Trentwood Drive. The impact caused a fire.

Authorities said someone called to report the fire and firefighters arrived to find the teen's body in the driver's seat.

The cause of death was asphyxia from the fire and crash injuries, said Mitch Breese, a senior deputy coroner's investigator.

Results from toxicology tests will be available in several weeks, officials said.

Becker, the assistant principal, said Sokolow-Nikolic was an excellent student who passed a number of optional state merit tests before graduating.

Sokolow-Nikolic's brother is a freshman at Oak Park High School.

His mother taught summer art classes at the high school.

Mount Sinai Memorial Park is handling the arrangements.

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