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Parents of USD student remember her impact on the world

Posted at 7:05 AM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 10:05:27-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - In a world that's always moving, there are certain people that make time feel like it stands still. Their confidence and compassion can get your attention and draw you in.

Haley Takeda was one of those people.

"She always said she wanted to make a difference in the world, make a bigger impact, do something significant," said Haley's mom, Jennifer.

A month after their 21-year-old daughter died in a car crash, Jennifer and Yutaka Takeda opened up their loss.

"The magnitude of her loss is incomprehensible," Jennifer said.

Haley was killed in March in a head-on crash in the Linda Vista area. According to San Diego Police, a Kearny Senior High School student was trying to pass a car driven by another teenager when he sideswiped it, lost control, and slammed head-on into Haley's car.

That 17-year-old driver also died, and several other people were hurt.

"People say, ‘Sorry for your loss,’" Jennifer said. "We're sorry for what Haley's lost because we see every aspect of life, opportunities that she won't have."

Haley was just starting to make her mark.

A junior at the University of San Diego, she was majoring in International Business and Spanish.

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She was also a leader on the school's dance team, a project leader on the Student International Business Council, a member of the professional business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi, and the chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer in Kappa Alpha Theta.

"She was fully enjoying her university life," Yutaka said. "I just wanted [for her] to complete her university life. It's so unfair."

That was just Haley's time in San Diego. Her reach spanned across the world.

"Life was an adventure and something to be discovered," Jennifer said. "She really wanted equality and justice and peace of people. There really aren't words to say enough about what she was doing and what she is. She has to be remembered and continue on."

In high school, Haley joined the Amigos de las Americas program. She spent weeks out of her summers volunteering in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.

"Even before she went to the first volunteer work in Costa Rica, she was already talking about the following summer, which was double the amount of time which as parents we were very scared about, of course, but she was determined. That was something she needed to do," Jennifer said.

Haley was an only child. Her parents say they wanted to focus all their love and attention on their beautiful baby girl.

"We always would say we wanted to give her everything, and you don't get that lucky twice," Jennifer said.

Now, their focus and attention are on making sure people don't forget the woman their daughter became and the impact she made during her short life.

"Don't forget what she was trying to do. Keep going forward with love and respect to everyone. If you see someone who needs help, help them," Jennifer said.

The Ahlers Center for International Business at the USD School of Business established the Haley Takeda Memorial Scholarship. In remembrance of her passion and desire to study abroad, the scholarship aims to help fund a USD-sponsored study abroad experience for students with financial need.

The San Diego Police Department has not yet released the full crash report.