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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, October 3, 2001

Judge allows Intoxilyzer results in Arakawa trial

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

A Circuit Court judge yesterday ruled that the results of an Intoxilyzer test of former police officer Clyde Arakawa can be used against him in his manslaughter trial next year.

Arakawa is accused of being under the influence of alcohol when his car struck a car driven by Dana Ambrose at Pali Highway and School Street last Oct. 7. Ambrose, 19, was killed in the crash.

Arakawa, who was off duty at the time of the accident, refused a field sobriety test and was taken to the main police station. He was booked for driving under the influence and negligent homicide.

Nearly seven hours after the accident, Arakawa was given an Intoxilyzer test. The officer who administered the test told Arakawa that the test results would not affect his felony case.

Michael Ostendorp, Arakawa's attorney, filed a motion to suppress the test results and argued that the breath test constituted a search. Ostendorp argued that police obtained the results without a search warrant or Arakawa's consent.

Prosecutors cited a state law that allows for mandatory testing if a driver is involved in an accident that results in injury or death. The state said Arakawa, who has since retired, had no right to refuse the test.

Circuit Judge Karen Ahn yesterday agreed and ruled that prosecutors can admit the breath test as evidence when Arakawa's trial begins Jan. 15.

Ostendorp could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The tests showed that Arakawa had a blood alcohol level of .06, below the legal level of .08 for drunken driving. But a prosecution witness is expected to testify that Arakawa's blood alcohol level was at least .162, or more than twice the legal limit, at the time of the accident seven hours earlier.