It’s been a month since four Pepperdine College students were struck and killed by a speeding 22-year-old driver on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, and on Tuesday night, family and friends gathered to remember the young women.
“On Oct. 17, I stood on the side of PCH until 3 a.m. screaming and crying and begging for my best friends to be okay,” Bridget Thompson said at the vigil.
Thompson’s world was turned upside down the night of the crash. Four of her best friends — Niamh Rolston, Peyton Stewart, Asha Weir and Deslyn Williams — lost their lives when Fraser Bohm, who authorities believe was driving 104 miles per hour, crashed his car in the 21600 block of PCH, killing the girls who were walking nearby.
“I stand here for Deslyn’s loyalty, for Niamh’s heart of gold, for Asha’s wisdom and gentleness and for Peyton’s selflessness,” Thompson said.
Thompson, along with some of the victims’ parents, fellow Pepperdine students and local leaders, placed four white ghost tires along PCH in their honor Tuesday night.
The vigil attendees also called on Caltrans to take swift action to stop the deadly accidents on a stretch of road along PCH referred to as “Dead Man’s Curve,” due to the high number of accidents which often involve speeding drivers.
“I ask that you stand with me here today and every day to slow down PCH, the road that took my best friends in one brutal hit,” Thompson said.
Barry Stewart, the father of Peyton, also spoke out at the vigil and delivered some tough statistics.
“Since 2010, 58 fatalities and over 2,500 injuries have occurred on PCH Malibu,” he said.
A 2015 state-ordered study of the safety of PCH in Malibu recommended 130 improvements, but few of those recommendations over the past eight years, including reducing speeds, have been implemented.
“This morning, I learned that 11 of those 130 recommendations have been implemented,” Stewart said.
Those at the vigil said that safety changes need to happen immediately before more families are subjected to the heartbreak they’ve been left to face.
“An average of three people die on Malibu PCH every 8.7 months,” Stewart added. “That math doesn’t work. Fix PCH.”