MORENO VALLEY — Daryl Arnold, a former U.S. ambassador to Singapore and former president of the Western Growers Assn., was killed along with his wife when their car veered off a highway and crashed into a signpost, the California Highway Patrol said.
Arnold, 73, and his wife, Shirley, were headed to their Palm Desert condominium to celebrate her 73rd birthday on Wednesday when their Cadillac crashed about 2 p.m. Tuesday on Highway 60 near Moreno Valley in Riverside County. The couple, who had been married for 51 years, lived in Corona del Mar.
It wasn't known why the Arnolds' car suddenly went off the highway, CHP Sgt. J. M. Martinez said. No other vehicles were involved.
The force of the impact with the signpost was so severe that the engine and transmission were ripped out of the Cadillac, the CHP said.
Arnold was appointed ambassador to Singapore by then-President Ronald Reagan. After serving as ambassador from 1987 to 1989, he was Singapore's honorary consul general in California.
Before that, Arnold served as president of the Western Growers Assn., beginning in 1971. During his 16-year tenure, the Irvine-based agricultural trade association--whose member firms grow, pack and ship vegetables, fruits and nuts in Arizona and California--increased from 10 employees to more than 200 workers.
"This tremendous growth was due primarily to Daryl's leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, and an attitude that one should never take no for an answer," WGA President David Moore said in a statement.
Besides celebrating Shirley Arnold's birthday, the couple had planned to celebrate the new year with Moore and his wife in Palm Desert, Moore said.
Funeral arrangements were pending.