Pepperdine University officials have identified the four students who were tragically killed in a crash along Pacific Coast Highway Tuesday evening.
Family members previously identified Niamh Rolston, a 20-year-old businessman who would have celebrated her 21st birthday in November. She would graduate in 2024.
The other victims were named by the school as Peyton Stewart, Asha Weir and Deslyn Williams. All four attended Pepperdine’s Seaver College of Liberal Arts.
The horrors unfolded near Malibu Pier and La Costa Beach around 8:30 PM local time, when a 22-year-old driver is believed to have crashed into a group of parked cars and then hit women walking nearby. Two other people are being treated at a local hospital as a result of the accident.
On Wednesday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department identified the driver as Fraser Michael Bohm. He is charged with vehicular manslaughter but has been released while the investigation continues. A spokesperson appeared to rule out street racing playing a role in the accident as no other car was involved.
The police surrounded the place where the horror took place on Tuesday evening
Witnesses said Bohm was unharmed after the incident and attempted to leave the scene until onlookers arrested him. A spokesman for the sheriff’s office said a DUI investigation is also underway.
Officials said a Pepperdine fraternity party was being held in the area. The official said the victims were planning to meet others at the time of the tragedy.
According to her LinkedIn page, in addition to attending Pepperdine, Rolston also worked as a cheer and gymnastics coach, while Asha Weir was a writing teacher at the school in her spare time.
Peyton Stewart worked as a volunteer at a retirement home and recently interned at TikTok.
Deslyn Williams’ employer paid tribute to her in a heartbreaking Facebook post, saying: ‘When you get the saddest news – 21 miles of devastation – a road of heartache.’ One commenter wrote: ‘Deslyn, RIP my queen.’
The area where the accident occurred is known to locals as ‘Dead Man’s Curve’ due to the high number of incidents in the area.
The fire chief described the accident as ‘terrible’, adding: ‘Unfortunately we have four DOAs, we have four victims who did not survive.
“The sheriff is here and they’re going to do a full-scale investigation to find out what caused this. It’s a difficult situation right now.’
Debris can be seen along the Pacific Coast Highway after the crash
A man walks past the makeshift shrine set up for the victims of the horrific crash
Malibu resident Joan Zoloth said the crash was not a surprise because of the roadside’s reputation for “drag racing,” which she said is “non-stop.”
The shocking incident took place on a stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway known as ‘Dead Man’s Curve’
Pepperdine University revealed that they have “reason to believe” the victims were students at Seaver College
When emergency services arrived on the scene on Wednesday morning, one of the cars involved could still be seen on the side of the highway, with almost the entire rear driver’s side of the vehicle crumpled in the impact.
The crash remains under investigation, but officials have indicated they believe speed was a factor.
Locals were quick to note that the area where the accident occurred has a notorious reputation for speeding, and the tragedy came as no surprise.
“Since Covid, the number of incredible races up and down this highway has increased,” said Malibu resident Joan Zoloth.
‘(It’s) all night long, enough that you can hear it over the waves, and we live on the beach side.
“It’s non-stop,” she added, claiming others in the area have complained about “drag racing” along the stretch of road.
Los Angeles County Fire Captain Sheila Kelliher-Berkoh also noted that speed likely contributed to the tragedy.
‘It is heavy. Everyone is increasing their speed…this is a very densely populated pedestrian area, so it’s one of those scary things where it’s like, ‘Hey people, slow down,'” she said.
Connie Horton, vice president for student affairs at Pepperdine University, said the victims brought a “unique gift and spirit” to the school.
A prayer service for the victims will be held Thursday at 10 a.m. in Pepperdine.
“Earlier today we learned that four precious lives that brought joy and light to our campus were suddenly, tragically and incomprehensibly taken from us,” Pepperdine President Jim Gash wrote in a message to the university community.
“As we await further details from the investigation, we are praying for our entire community,” the university said on X.