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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Judge throws out Arakawa claim of faulty signal

By David Waite
Advertiser Staff Writer

A state judge yesterday dismissed a claim brought against the city by former Honolulu Police Officer Clyde Arakawa who contended that a malfunctioning traffic light at the corner of School Street and the Pali Highway contributed to a fatal accident Arakawa was involved in last October.

Prosecutors have accused Arakawa, 49, of driving under the influence of alcohol when his 1993 Ford Thunderbird collided with a 2000 Honda Civic driven by 19-year-old Dana Ambrose, who died of injuries following the Oct. 7 incident.

Arakawa, who was off-duty at the time of the collision, was charged with manslaughter.

Arakawa's attorney, Michael Ostendorp, has asserted that it was Ambrose who ran the red light and that Arakawa did not cause the collision.

Circuit Judge Sabrina McKenna yesterday dismissed a claim by Ostendorp on behalf of Arakawa that contended that the city did not keep the traffic signal in proper working order.

Ostendorp attached the claim to a civil lawsuit brought by Ambrose's parents against Arakawa.

McKenna last month threw out another claim brought by Ostendorp on Arakawa's behalf, one that asserted that Ambrose's estate should be made to pay for damages to Arakawa's Thunderbird, which was considered a total loss after the collision.

Ostendorp said yesterday that he filed both the claim to reimburse Arakawa for damages to his car and the claim against the city because lawyers for the company that supplied Arakawa with automobile insurance at the time of the collision declined to file the claims.

"I really don't want anything to do with the civil lawsuit, but someone has to look out for Mr. Arakawa's rights," he said.

Arakawa remains free on bail. His trial on manslaughter charges is scheduled to begin next month.