Grieving mother of teen killed on walk to school pleads with hit-and-run driver to come forward

The victim has been identified as Sara Yara.
Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 7:39 AM HST|Updated: Feb. 16, 2023 at 10:32 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A manhunt continues for the driver of a pickup truck who police say plowed into two teens walking to school on Wednesday morning and then fled the scene without rendering aid.

One of those McKinley High students — 16-year-old Sara Yara — died; the other was last listed in good condition.

Sara’s mother, Chevy, remembered her daughter Wednesday night as a girl full of light, life and love.

“I want her to be remembered for the big heart that she had and the loving person that she was,” she said. “No matter how mean other people were to her, she still had compassion and love for them.”

The grieving mother also pleaded with the hit-and-run driver to come forward.

A GoFundMe account has been established to help Sara’s family with expenses. Click here to help.

“We need closure for my daughter. We need justice for my daughter,” she said, adding that Sara was a twin. “They took someone that was so loving and kind away from us, and not only from me, but from her twin sister. All she could say all day was her other half is gone. And all I can say is that he should turn himself in.”

Honolulu police said Yara and the other McKinley student had the right of way and were in a marked crosswalk at the intersection of Kapiolani Boulevard and Kamakee Street when they were struck about 6:45 a.m.

The vehicle involved in the crash — a silver Toyota Tacoma — was later recovered.

Police did say they recovered the vehicle involved in the crash ― a silver pickup truck.

The crash prompted police to urge drivers to be mindful of pedestrians, especially younger ones.

“We lost a young life, sadly,” said HPD Capt. Stason Tanaka, in a news conference. “We are urging the public to be vigilant on the roadways ... and to watch out for one another.”

In a letter home to parents, McKinley High Principal Ron Okamura offered his condolences to the family and friends of Yara and said counseling services would be made available.

“Please keep the family in your thoughts,” he wrote.

Student Jasmine Addison knew Yara and remembered her being outgoing and friendly.

“She was nice and she supported our concerts,” said Addison. “She’d come and give us lei and stuff.”

HPD is reviewing surveillance video and questioning witnesses.

Police said that they believe speed is a factor in this case.

The traffic fatality is the seventh so far this year on Oahu.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.