Our 98 is behaving very, very similarly.
Its automatic as opposed to your manual.
Like somebody throws a switch!
Might feel it stutter a tiny bit prior.
Can't decide if it wants to stall, then silence, rolls to the side of the road.
Happened yesterday 3 miles out, running in cruise at 60.
Then, turned around, happened 4 times on the drive back home, slow speed.
Seems electrical because I loose speedo.
Sometimes it starts back, sometimes takes sitting / half dozen tries.
Has had 4 coils, 3 CPS, 3 Cam postion sensors, O2 sensors and so on.
Feels a bit like loosing CPS crank position sensor. Have NAPA/Eichlin installed.
I'd expect more stutter if it were fuel pump.
Going out to driveway now to run it and wiggle harnesses.
Edit 7/19/ 2011 --- Found mine --- Random Die / No Start --- Finally Solved!