By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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State Patrol detectives continue to seek witnesses to events leading up to the death of Aamanda LaGambina earlier this month.
LaGambina, 25, died after being struck by a pickup truck and was carried about 80 feet at about 8:45 p.m. March 11 on Calawah Way near its intersection with Leppell Road.
Detectives have said they believe that there might have been another car westbound on Calawah Way at or near the time she was hit by the truck.
They want to talk to anyone who was in or passed through the area at the time, or saw LaGambina or Larson's red pickup truck at around the time of the accident, Trooper Russ Winger said.
The truck driver fled the scene.
Garrid Larson, 19, of Forks, who later told State Patrol troopers that he was driving the truck that hit LaGambina, said he had been partially blinded by the headlights of another car just before hitting her, Winger said.
The driver of that car might have seen LaGambina walking along Calawah Way, if not the incident itself, Winger said.
The State Patrol reported that investigators believe that LaGambina was walking westbound on Calawah when she was struck by the center-front portion of the truck.
She later was pronounced dead at Forks Community Hospital.
LaGambina was wearing a dark “hoodie” sweatshirt and dark jeans at the time of the collision, according to the State Patrol.
Anyone with information is asked to phone Detective Joi Haner at 360-473-0147.
Aamanda LaGambina, 25, died after being struck by the truck the evening of March 11 on Calawah Way near its intersection with Leppell Road east of downtown.
The driver, Garrid Larson, 19, also of Forks, is released from jail on his own recognizance as traffic officers investigate the accident.
They are seeking witnesses from that night. [See box at right.]
A memorial service was held Saturday at the Assembly of God Church in Forks.
A 2005 graduate of Forks High School, LaGambina was a student at Peninsula College in 2012.
She leaves 4-year-old Kylee LaGambina.
The family said a savings account has been opened at Sterling Bank in Kylee's name, and anyone wishing to make a donation can do so at any Sterling Bank branch, including those in Forks and Port Angeles.
Aamanda's parents, Alan and Joan LaGambina of Forks, said in an interview that their daughter was a loving mother and a good friend with a kind heart.
When she was hit, she was walking to the house of a friend who had been injured and needed help around the house, Alan said.
She had planned to be gone for only a couple of hours, he said.
“She had only been gone from our house for about seven or eight minutes,” Alan said.
The accident occurred only about 600 feet from the LaGambina home, he estimated, as the grandparents read bedtime stories to Kylee.
The couple, said that losing their youthful, healthy daughter has been a shock.
There was no warning, no preparation they could have made, Alan said.
The unusual spelling of Aamanda's name — with two A's at the beginning — was based on a tradition between her parents.
It started with the family's familiarity with Seattle news broadcaster Aaron Brown, and she teasingly spelled Alan's name with two As, Joan said.
When Aamanda was born, an extra A was added to her name to honor the longstanding joke between them, she said.
Aamanda was a loving mother to Kylee, an enthusiastic horsewoman and was slowly working toward a degree in physics, Joan said.
She often play-fought with her brother, Tyeson, 24, with kitchen flour battles often ending in laughter, she said.
“They were best friends,” she added.
Kylee is now living with Alan and Joan, and the girl is continuing her mother's legacy of dancing with Quileute drum circles.
Though she wasn't a member of any tribe, Aamanda danced with the Quileute, as Kylee does now.
The family has long been friends with members of the Quileute, since Alan's grandmother learned basket weaving from tribal elders.
Tyeson's 4-year-old son, Carter, is half-Quileute, and he called Aamanda “Auntie Duh,” he said.
Alan said that since Aamanda's death, the Quileute have honored Kylee by presenting her with her own dance shawl.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at email@example.com.