Family says teen who died in Pali truck crash was loved by many

Kamalani Kalama

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Gone too soon.

The family of a 13-year-old girl killed in a crash on the Pali Highway this weekend is overcome with emotion. They lost a daughter, sister, and aunt when the truck she was riding in flipped over.

Through the tears, Jerica Kalama said her sister, Kamalani, was full of smiles, laughter, and a contagious spirit.

Jerica clings to a photo of her younger sister.

“Last time I saw her was Friday. I dropped her off at school and that was my routine every day to take her to school and now I can’t do that anymore. All we have are pictures and memories,” Jerica said.

On Sunday, just after midnight, Kamalani was killed in a crash on the Pali Highway.

Kamalani was riding in the back seat of this truck. Her 14-year-old friend was in the front seat with her father, identified by the Honolulu Medical Examiner as 33-year-old Mark Garcia, at the wheel.

Police say he veered off the road. The truck hit a light pole, flipped on its side, then slammed against a tree.

“She was only 13. She is gone way too soon. For what reason, only God knows,” Jerica said.

Kamalani’s 14-year-old friend in the truck miraculously survived the wreck, but suffered critical injuries.

Police are looking into speed and alcohol as factors in the crash.

“For all you guys who drink and drive and fall asleep or whatever, it’s so no worth it. An innocent life, 13 years old,” Jerica said.

Kamalani and her friend both attended Kailua Intermediate. Parents say counselors were brought in from other schools to offer support and grief counseling.

The two girls also held a similar passion and paddled together at Kailua Canoe Club.

Nicknamed “Kama” by her family and called “Aunty Lani” by her nieces and nephews, Kamalani was loved by many.

“I just wanted her to be remembered as someone who touched so many peopled lives in such a short period of time,” Jerica said.

Police say Kamalani was not wearing a seat belt.

Wearing a seat belt is required by law for kids under the age of 18.

Kamalani’s 14-year-old friend was wearing seat belt at the time of the crash. She remains hospitalized at the Queen’s Medical Center.


Pali Highway crash leaves 2 dead and teenager fighting for her life

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