St. Francis plans memorial for alum killed in Waimanalo crash

St. Francis plans memorial for alum killed in Waimanalo crash

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The small tight-knit community of Saint Francis is in mourning after a recent graduate was killed in a car accident in Waimanalo Wednesday. Officials say it's especially difficult because the 2013 alumnae has siblings who still attend the school.

19-year-old Jessica Lum was a member of the historic first co-ed class to graduate from Saint Francis in 2013.

"This is such an incredible loss. She was such a wonderful person. She had such a future ahead of her," said Carlyle Cameron, Lum's history teacher.

Officials say Thursday was a tough morning filled with tears for the close-knit community. Lum's little sister is a senior and she also has a brother in the 8th grade and a sister in preschool.

"Just knowing what they're going to have to go through and how much she meant to so many people -- it's going to be a difficult road ahead," said Cameron.

Saint Francis School has planned a memorial for Monday morning.

"It's to honor Jessica 'cause she was a really great person and she made everyone really happy," explained 17-year-old Alyssa Pani, a senior who played volleyball with Lum's little sister and has known the family for at least five years.

Honolulu police confirm Lum and two others in the car were not wearning seat belts. Investigators say speed was a factor and they're also looking into whether alcohol was involved.

One witness says a passenger who survived told her the driver may have dropped her cell phone -- before losing control and swerving into a utility pole.

"Sad how somebody's life can be taken away that fast by something so careless," said Lindsey Thomas, an 18-year-old senior who has been best friend's with Lum's little sister since the 7th grade. "I'm driving and it's made me so much more aware and now I don't ever want to be on my phone ever again, because something devastating like this can happen," said Thomas.

Saint Francis officials say it's a tragic lesson for all their students -- and one they hope they'll never have to be reminded of again.

"Life is precious. When you're behind the wheel -- 100% focus on your driving. We talk to them constantly -- whatever the business is that you're about, don't be distracted. Especially in the car," said Sister Joan of Arc Souza.

Officials say it will take some time to heal -- especially after word another alum, Allie Uyematsu class of 2007, was killed last night in a car accident in Las Vegas. They say her mother also died in the crash.

"The only words that make sense is may they rest in the peace of God," said Sister Souza.

Police have opened a negligent homicide investigation to look into Lum's death. At this time, no charges have been filed.

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