A man who died early Saturday when his car hit a tree and parked vehicle on a rain-slicked Middlefield Road was a visiting scholar at Stanford University, friends said.
The family of the man, who "had a huge network of friends," has been notified, a source said.
The Santa Clara County Coroner's Office declined to release the man's identity but said it would likely do so Tuesday.
He arrived in Palo Alto last summer and had planned to stay for eight months, a friend said, declining to name his country of origin on instructions from police.
The crash occurred Saturday morning at about 12:50 as the man, in his 20s, drove south along Middlefield Road into Palo Alto, police said.
His vehicle first struck a sign on the west side of the street, then slammed into a tree and ricocheted off a parked vehicle before coming to rest in the front yard of a home near the intersection of Middlefield Road and Hawthorne Avenue, according to police.
Will Carter, who lives on the corner of Middlefield and Hawthorne, said the car appeared to have veered from Middlefield onto Hawthorne after hitting the street sign. It then struck a tree on Hawthorne on the driver's side and spun around to face east. The car also flattened a portion of the fence in front of the house where Carter lives.
Arriving police officers found the driver, who was the vehicle's sole occupant, with what they say were serious injuries. Palo Alto fire paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene.
Members of the Palo Alto Police Department's Specialized Traffic Accident Reconstruction team and the Santa Clara County medical examiner's office were investigating the crash.
Alcohol had not been ruled out as a factor, and police said the medical examiner's office would determine if the driver was under the influence.
A representative from the medical examiner's office said those tests would commence Monday, but that it could be several weeks before they produce a conclusion.