Parents touchedSusan Ambrose will never again be able to hug, talk to or laugh with her only daughter.
Despite tragedy, the spirit of
Dana Ambrose will dwell
in Hawaii, they say
By Jaymes K. Song
Six days ago, her 19-year-old daughter, Dana, was killed in a two-car crash at the intersection of the Pali Highway and School Street, near downtown.
"Truly, from the inside out, she was just wonderful," Ambrose said as her eyes, red and swollen from crying, lit up. "You know, you just don't meet these people all the time. We were all so blessed."
Dana's 2000 Honda Civic was crushed after it was broadsided by a 1993 Ford Thunderbird driven by Clyde Arakawa, 48, an off-duty Honolulu police officer. Arakawa was arrested for drunken driving and negligent homicide after he refused to take a field sobriety test. He has been released, pending further investigation, and remains on paid vacation.
Ambrose, with her husband Rod, and their other child, son Nik, 21, flew in from San Clemente, Calif., and have been in Honolulu since Wednesday evening.
"We came here to take Dana back, but Dana loved Hawaii -- this island and especially the people," said Dana's father from his hotel room. "She considered this her home."
Dana moved to Hawaii shortly after finishing high school last year in California. Even in high school, Dana had aspirations of attending college in the islands.
"She had come out many times and fell in love with everything," Rod Ambrose said. "I think she felt very comfortable here.
Dana attended Leeward Community College and worked at the Brew Moon Restaurant & Micro Brewery at Ward Centre and at North Shore Swimwear. She also had worked at Jameson's By the Sea.
"She was a wonderful girl," said Howard Green, a local attorney and owner of North Shore Swimwear. "She had a great future in front of her."
Dana recently was offered a scholarship and acceptance into the University of Hawaii-Manoa, which she was "thrilled" about, her mother said.
She was scheduled to start attending classes at UH in January.
Many of Dana's friends, from Haleiwa to San Diego, said she was a hard-working girl who always made people smile.
Susan Ambrose smiled yesterday as she thumbed through several photos of her daughter. All the pictures show a gleeful Dana surrounded by dozens of friends she made in Hawaii.
"We are really touched by the outpouring of support, love and prayers," she said.
The Ambrose family did not answer questions regarding Arakawa or his past. Nor would they comment on the Honolulu Police Department's investigation of the crash.
The family said they just want to focus on their daughter.
"In her short time on Earth and here in Hawaii, Dana touched everyone she met in a positive way," Rod Ambrose said. "We just pray that all those touched by her goodness will touch others in the same way and everyone can share her kind and loving spirits in their hearts.
"She was drawn here by the spirit of the island -- to live, work and finish college," he added. "Now her spirit dwells here."
An autopsy report on Dana Ambrose shows she had no drugs or alcohol in her system at the time of her death.
Ambrose died 30 minutes after her Honda was struck by a Ford Thunderbird driven by off-duty police officer Clyde Arakawa.
The autopsy report concluded Ambrose's death was caused by multiple injuries due to a motor vehicle accident.