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Crash victim was `gifted, talented'

October 14, 2000

Family talks about daughter’s life, not details of her death


In an emotional news conference, the family of Dana Ambrose yesterday spoke of the kind-hearted 19-year-old woman who was killed in a car crash last week.

“It wasn’t just Dana Ambrose, 19-year-old waiter from the Brew Moon,” Susan Ambrose said of her daughter. “It was Dana Ambrose, this incredibly gifted, talented, dynamic person.

“Dana touched everybody she met. She got along with everybody from every age group, every skin tone. She was color-blind, she was ageblind. She loved her life. I know Dana is with God. We have to find comfort in that.”

Ambrose, a Haleiwa resident, was killed Oct. 7 when her Honda Civic was broadsided by a Ford Thunderbird driven by off-duty police officer Clyde S. Arakawa on the Pali Highway near School Street.

Police arrested Arakawa, 48, on suspicion of driving under the influence and first-degree negligent homicide. No charges have been filed in the case, and he was released pending further investigation.

At the news conference in the office of lawyer Rick Fried, Susan Ambrose, who was surrounded by husband Rod and son Nik, said she didn’t want to discuss the crash or the surrounding circumstances. Instead, she wanted to share her feelings about her daughter, a 1999 honors graduate of San Clemente High School in California.

At 15, she became one of the youngest female state lifeguards in California. She earned Rookie of the Year honors, her mother said.

Susan Ambrose said she spoke with Dana on the telephone the day of the accident. That’s when Dana announced she had secured a $4,800 scholarship to attend the University of Hawaii as a Western exchange student.

“She was just thrilled,” Susan Ambrose said. “She was an accomplished artist and extremely creative.”

Family members thanked their friends and all of the well-wishers.

The Ambroses, who arrived this week from California, said they have been showered with kindness and sympathy.

“Our family is extremely touched and grateful by the tremendous outpouring of love, support and prayers we have received from her friends and the people here in Hawaii,” Rod Ambrose said. “We came here to take Dana back. Dana loved Hawaii, this island, and especially the people. She considered this her home.”

Rod Ambrose said Dana’s ashes will be scattered in waters off the California coast. He said the family probably will hold a Hawaii memorial.

Fried urged witnesses to come forward to help the crash investigation.

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