Young father killed by suspected DUI driver outside Tesla plant in Fremont

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

FREMONT, Calif. – A 26-year-old Oakland man and his wife were expecting their fourth child when his life was suddenly cut short outside his workplace, the Tesla plant, in Fremont.

His family is heartbroken but proud of who Taniela “Finau” Hafoka was.

He was killed by a suspected drunk driver on May 3 around 11:30 p.m. when he was outside the auto plant taking a break near a bus stop on Fremont Boulevard. 

“He always had a smile on his face, always high on life, always,” his older brother, Sione Hafoka said on Friday.

Finau worked at Tesla in Fremont as a forklift driver.

Hafoka said a speeding driver going the wrong way struck his brother.

Finau died at the scene. The family created a memorial at the site where he was killed.

“Now, I just got to worry about putting my brother at rest and taking care of his kids,” said Hafoka.  

Finau left behind his wife and three children, ages 3, 2, and 11 months old.

The couple was expecting a fourth child due in a few months.

Hafoka said he plans to help raise his brother’s children along with his own child.

The family shared videos of Finau playing with his children.

Hafoka described his brother as a loving, devoted husband and father whose priority was  his family.

“He was more than a provider. He was their funny man,” his brother said. “Seeing how he treats his kids, how he treats his wife, he makes me a better dad and husband.” 

Hafoka said his brother was an old soul and a man of faith.

Family members are now focused on honoring Finau’s memory and not on the way he died. 

Hafoka said he hadn’t given thought to the driver who killed his brother.

“My brother forgives a lot too, so he probably would forgive him too.  At the end of the day, sometimes that’s how it goes,” said Hafoka.  

Family members plan to hold a memorial service for Finau on May 24.

They are raising money to help his wife and children, and fly his body back to Utah, his home state.

To help Finau’s family, a GoFundMe has been created.  

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU,  Instagram @AmberKTVU  or Twitter @AmberKTVU.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.