Tracy Clarke was always drawn to the sea, and it is there that her ashes will be scattered.
Clarke, a 26-year-old lifeguard and avid triathlete from Malibu, was killed early last Sunday by a suspected drunk driver as she and four friends started a 70-mile bicycle ride up the Pacific Coast Highway.
The death of Clarke, a good-natured blonde with an easy smile and a fondness for working with children and senior citizens, has stunned her relatives and friends.
"If there ever was a symbolic person to rally around, this beautiful, athletic woman would be it," said Bob Carmichael, who said he only met Clarke the night before her death. He said cyclists have been trying to get bike paths and warning signs along the coast highway for years so such tragedies could be avoided.
Condolence calls by the dozens began streaming in immediately after Clarke's death, said her mother, Pamela Sandmore of Calabasas. "The love that has come out of this child's death is absolutely amazing to me," Sandmore said. "This kid touched a lot of people."
A memorial service for Clarke will be held Friday at 4 p.m. at the recreation center at Paradise Cove in Malibu. The funeral will be private, and her mother said her daughter's desire to be cremated will be heeded.
Clarke, who graduated from USC with a degree in gerontology, was a lifeguard at Point Mugu and Leo Carillo state beaches, and worked at an Agoura convalescent home, Sandmore said. She spent several hours a day biking, running and swimming, and was fond of canoeing and other water sports.
According to California Highway Patrol officers and Richard Hudspeth, who was bicycling alongside Clarke, the accident occurred about 8 a.m. on the northbound shoulder of Pacific Coast Highway just north of Decker Canyon Road.
Although there was a wide expanse of road, the driver of a Datsun B210 suddenly drove onto the shoulder and ran over Clarke's bike, throwing her 80 feet into the air, said Hudspeth and CHP Officer Vicki Warren.
Clarke's companions "heard the noise, turned around and saw the Datsun leaving the scene with the bike still underneath it," Warren said.
Hudspeth said that he and a doctor who happened to be driving by administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation to Clarke, but that she had no pulse. Clarke was airlifted by Los Angeles County firefighters to Westlake Medical Center in Westlake Village, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.
Danilo Herrera, 20, of Los Angeles, was arrested farther up the road. He was charged Tuesday with four felonies: vehicular manslaughter, felony drunk driving, driving under the influence, and leaving the scene of an accident where injuries occurred, Warren said.
Herrera "apparently had been drinking," and was on his way to the beach with a friend, according to Warren, who said no blood alcohol test results were immediately available. Bail for Herrera was set for $100,000, and he remained in jail Wednesday pending an Aug. 8 preliminary hearing in Malibu Municipal Court, Warren said.
Clarke, a member of the Team Malibu triathlon team, was bicycling Sunday as part of her training for a competition in Canada. She was to have left next Wednesday. In her place, Team Malibu will be sending three members to compete in her memory, including Hudspeth, a longtime friend, Warren said.