Four Pepperdine University students who were hit and killed by a driver in Malibu earlier this week are eligible to receive posthumous degrees, the university’s chief academic officer announced at a prayer service Thursday morning.
Niamh Rolston, Peyton Stewart, Asha Weir and Deslyn Williams died when authorities say a speeding driver hit them on the Pacific Coast Highway roughly four miles east of the school around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday evening.
All four were seniors at Pepperdine’s Seaver College of Liberal Arts.
“Seaver College has established a policy where students who have displayed a high record of achievement both socially and academically are qualified to receive a posthumous degree,” said Provost Jay Brewster. “It is my great pleasure … to note that all four of these students are qualified to receive this honor in the class of 2024. We look forward to having this conversation with the families at the appropriate time.”
Brewster’s announcement was welcomed with applause from those who attended Thursday’s service at the private Christian university.
A memorial was planned for Thursday evening.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, 22-year-old Fraser Bohm was speeding in a dark grey BMW sedan westbound on the PCH when he lost control and swerved toward the shoulder of the road.
He struck three parked vehicles which, in turn, crashed into the four students as they were standing on the side of the roadway, authorities said.
Rolston, Stewart, Weir and Williams were pronounced dead at the scene. Two other people were hospitalized.
Bohm was arrested for vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence but released the following day pending further investigation, the Sheriff’s Department said.
Local residents and authorities in Malibu hope the tragedy will serve as a wake-up call that leads to safety enhancements along the PCH, which is notorious for speeding and crashes, they say.
“We’ve got to work together as a community,” pleaded Sheriff’s Capt. Jennifer Seetoo at a news briefing on Wednesday. “There are too many people on this stretch of highway who have been killed.”