‘He learned to love well’

A Kauai High School 2010 graduate was killed Saturday night when a suspected drunken driver crashed into his car.

Lucas Riley, 24, of San Diego, was the son of Mark and Tami Riley of Kalaheo.

Mark Riley said Monday he and his family were thankful for all of the good memories of their son and the love he shared.

He said the outpouring of support, on Kauai and in San Diego, has been incredible.

Many people invested in Lucas Riley, said his father, and he in turn became part of their ohana.

“It’s really great to hear about the impact of his life on others,” he said.

Lucas Riley was a fixture in the San Diego community and spent his time helping others with a ministry group, according to NBC 7 in San Diego.

“He was the most caring and loving person I ever have known in my entire life. I have never felt more love for him,” Shawna Wickwire, his fiancé, said in an interview with NBC 7.

Riley was driving his Mini Cooper when it was struck head-on by a truck driven by a suspected DUI driver that veered across the center of the road, according to a report by NBC 7.

The crash happened about 7 p.m. on State Route 67 near Cloudy Moon Drive. The impact set the Mini Cooper on fire; by the time crews arrived on scene, flames had fully engulfed the car and trapped the victim inside. He died at the scene, NBC 7 reported.

After the crash, authorities could be seen pulling out beer cans from the Chevrolet. The 51-year-old, who has not yet been identified, suffered a broken wrist. He was arrested on alcohol-related charges, including felony vehicular manslaughter, NBC 7 reported.

Wickwire said the couple was planning on getting married this October. She said her husband-to-be was a selfless man, the type of man willing to help anyone.

“He was a great guy with the world ahead of him,” Wickwire said, crying.

Riley was a recent graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University. The university issued a statement, saying Riley was a talented art major who graduated last year.

“The PLNU community is deeply saddened by this sudden and tragic loss. We share in this grief and our prayers are with (his) family, fiance and friends. (He) studied art education at PLNU and was a very talented sculptor. Most recently he was the chief assistant to PLNU art professor, David Adey, in the installation of a permanent public art piece for the County of San Diego. According to Adey, he was incredibly talented, hardworking and a kind and gentle soul who will be greatly missed,” the statement read.

Tom Iannucci, pastor at Breath of Life church in Lihue and friend to the Riley family, said Lucas Riley was bright and a delight to be around.

“He was the guy who made everybody laugh,” Iannucci said. “He was somebody people liked to be around because he kept things fun.”

Iannucci said in recent years, Lucas Riley had developed a heart and a passion to serve Jesus Christ that transformed his life.

“He had a love for his fiance, his family, for life,” Iannucci said. “He was a special, special man.”

Mark Riley described his son as “a young man who learned to love early on in life, learned to love really well, for 24 years that’s the remarkable part of that. He made an indelible mark on many people.”

“I think the things that are most impressionable are looking at his life and his faith in God,” Mark Riley said.

“Before he went to be with the Lord, he learned to love well,” he added.

His son shared his faith with family, friends and strangers that God exists, that eternity is real,that Jesus lived and died for them.

“He challenged his friends to live differently and not just live for themselves,” Mark said. “He modeled that.”

His son was living among and serving the homeless and poor in San Diego during the past few years.

“That can either make you or break you,” Mark Riley said. “And it shaped him and it brought him to a place where he learned to love even better.”

Mark Riley said his son was an artist, an avid car guy, and taught surfing when he was on Kauai. In spite of his son’s death, he says he and his family are thankful in all circumstances.

“I share this as a reality that the God of miracles lives in us today and is active in our community and our lives and this world, in the midst of suffering and grief and turmoil and evil,” he said.

Lucas Makana Riley, the third child to Mark and Tami, was born and raised on Kauai and attended schools here. He was, his father said, a gift.

“He has been that gift to many others and we want to celebrate that in the mist of our grief,” Mark Riley said.

His family has set up a GoFundMe as a memorial fund. The money raised will cover funeral expenses. To donate, https://www.gofundme.com/2qz5baec.

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