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A Tragic Night in Malibu: Fatal Crash on Pacific Coast Highway

fatal malibu car crash on PCH

On the evening of October 17, 2023, a tragic accident occurred on the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) in Malibu, California, claiming the lives of four young women believed to be students at Pepperdine University’s Seaver College of Liberal Arts. The incident involving multiple vehicles occurred around 8:30 p.m. in the 21600 block of Pacific Coast Highway.

The four victims were reportedly killed when struck by a vehicle while walking. A speeding BMW plowed into three parked cars.

The driver, a 22-year-old man, was arrested and is facing manslaughter charges. Initial reports suggest that a black BMW was being driven west on PCH when it struck multiple parked vehicles and slammed into the women. Speed is believed to have been a factor in the horrific crash. He attempted to flee the scene according to witnesses.

According to the locals, officials from Pepperdine University have named the four companions who died in a collision on Tuesday night on the Pacific Coast Highway. Family members had already identified Niamh Rolston, a business major who was 20 years old and would have turned 21 in November.

Her graduation was scheduled for 2024. The school identified Peyton Stewart, Asha Weir, and Deslyn Williams as additional casualties. At Pepperdine’s Seaver College of Liberal Arts in Malibu, all four completed their education.

The Pacific Coast Highway: A Beautiful but Dangerous Route

The Pacific Coast Highway, known for its stunning coastal views and steep drop-offs from the California cliffs into the ocean, is a portion of State Route 1 running along the Pacific coastline of California. 

While the drive is breathtaking, it is also known for its sharp turns and potential hazards, especially the stretch known as Dead Man’s Curve. There are sections without guardrails that require careful navigation and driving at low speeds.

According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), there have been 2,345 car accidents on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) in the last five years (2018-2023). This includes all accidents, from minor fender benders to fatal collisions.

Some of the most common areas for accidents include:

* Malibu
* Santa Monica
* Newport Beach
* Laguna Beach
* Huntington Beach

The CHP also reports that the most common causes of car accidents on PCH are:

* Speeding
* Distracted driving
* Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
* Following too close
* Unsafe lane changes

The Aftermath and Community Response

The tragic event has sent shockwaves through the Pepperdine University community and beyond. The university released a statement expressing their grief and offering support to those affected by the tragedy. The university is providing spiritual and emotional support, including from the counseling center, the pastoral care team, and the student care team. 

The incident has also raised concerns about safety on the PCH, particularly in light of reports of increased racing on the highway since the COVID-19 pandemic. The crash has prompted calls for increased safety measures and stricter enforcement of traffic laws on the PCH.

Ongoing Investigation

As the investigation into the crash continues, it is crucial to remember the lives lost and consider how similar tragedies can be prevented in the future. This incident is a stark reminder of the importance of safe driving, particularly on roads like the PCH, where conditions can be challenging.

It is also a call to action for communities and authorities to work together to improve road safety. This could include implementing stricter speed limits, increasing police presence, improving road conditions, and raising public awareness about the dangers of reckless driving.

In the wake of this tragedy, our thoughts are with the victims, their families, and the Pepperdine University community and Seaver College.

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California Personal Injury Blog