Friends, classmates mourn USD student killed in crash

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SAN DIEGO — A University of San Diego student is being remembered as a woman of service by friends and classmates.

Friends say Haley Takeda accomplished so much in her 21 years of life.

“Living her life as full as possible, and I just really wanted to see her excel in that,” classmate Christiane Keyhani said.

Takeda was a member of USD’s dance team and a business school prodigy who was planning on graduating a year early. She died Saturday following a head-on car crash on Genesee Avenue.

“It’s so unreal, so surreal right now,” Joani Clemente, a USD dance team mom, said. “She was older than my daughter, and just took her under her wings as she did everyone.”

Police said two teenage drivers were leaving a Kearny High School football game Friday night when one tried to pass the other, causing a Toyota to hit Takeda’s Mazda head-on. Nine people were involved in the crash and two were killed, including Takeda and a 17-year-old driver identified as Mark Anthony George.

USD invited students to participate in a prayer during a 12:15 p.m. mass Monday. Friends came to honor Takeda, who was also a leader in inclusion and diversity in her sorority Kappa Alpha Theta.

“It’s just hard to go through, and see that so many other people were so greatly impacted by her light and her presence,” Takeda’s friend Madeline Mandanis said.

Friends say Takeda was also in the process of choreographing a challenging new dance routine for her team. Her dance community said they will continue to dance her steps and leave Takeda’s spot open. 

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