‘She was our sunflower’: Family mourns Orange County woman killed in hit-and-run


CARLSBAD, Calif. — Family members are mourning the loss of 26-year-old Jennifer Ofisa, who Carlsbad police say was struck by a hit-and-run driver last week.

The crash happened just before 11 p.m. July 30 in the intersection of College Boulevard and Salk Avenue, but authorities say the intersection doesn’t appear to have any surveillance cameras with a clear view of it. She was rushed to the hospital on the night of the incident with severe brain injuries.

After nearly a week in the ICU, family made the difficult decision to say goodbye Thursday night.

Ofisa was an Orange County resident and she was studying to be a chiropractor. Her sister Jeanice Matau said she was “such a big light in everyone’s life.”

“Yellow was her favorite color,” said Janelle Ofisa, also her sister, to which Matau responded, “She was our sunflower.”

Matau said Jennifer was believed to be crossing the street in the crosswalk when she was struck by a vehicle, noting that there were tire marks “from her feet to the top of her head.” Family members say Ofisa was taking a walk from their hotel where they were staying for a family reunion.

“We don’t know what happened that night to our daughter,” her mother Jeanelle Ofisa said. “She’s a very beautiful person in and out. She was taken from us.”

Ofisa’s lungs, kidneys and liver were able to be donated.

“Her heart was just to give, and give and give,” Matau said, “and even on her deathbed, she still gave. She was an organ donor.”

Her tightknit family has each other to lean on to get through the unthinkable, but they’re calling on the community for justice.

Ofisa’s tightknit family has each other to lean on through the unthinkable, but they need the community’s help for closure and justice. Investigators in Carlsbad are still working to gather information about the collision and are looking for witnesses.

“My daughter was taken at 26 years old — too young,” Alexander Ofisa said. “She had a bright future still ahead of her and if you’re the person responsible or if you have any information please come forward. We just love our daughter so much.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Carlsbad police Corporal Fant at 760-473-8722.

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