Cars drive along PCH in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Nov. 12, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
MALIBU, Calif.—A memorial service will be held for the Pepperdine University community Oct. 22 to celebrate the lives of four students who were killed in a violent crash on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).
Niamh Rolston, 20, Peyton Stewart, 21, Asha Weir, 21, and Deslyn Williams, 21, all seniors at Pepperdine’s Seaver College of Liberal Arts, were killed around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday while standing or walking in the 21600 block of PCH.
Sheriff’s officials said a driver who was apparently speeding lost control while driving a dark-colored sedan westbound on PCH, swerving onto the north shoulder and slamming into three parked vehicles. Those vehicles then struck the four women, all of whom were pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver, Fraser Michael Bohm, 22, of Malibu, suffered minor injuries in the crash. He was booked on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. Jail records show he was released from custody around 7:20 a.m. Wednesday, with sheriff’s officials saying the investigation was continuing.
It was still unclear if he was impaired at the time.
The deaths of the four students left the Pepperdine community in mourning.
PCH in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Nov. 12, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
“To the students who loved, lived with, and were in community with the departed members of our Pepperdine family, my heart is broken with yours,” University President Jim Gash wrote in a campus message Wednesday. “I join you in your grief as we process this profound loss. To the faculty and staff members who mentored and loved these students throughout their academic journeys both inside and outside the classroom, I offer prayers of comfort, support, and gratitude.”
Mr. Gash added, “In the days ahead, we will come together in meaningful ways to honor and celebrate the lives of the remarkable individuals lost to this unthinkable tragedy. We will harness the strength found in the bonds of friendship and the community that unites us.”
University officials said the campus is offering “spiritual and emotional support, including from the counseling center, from the pastoral care team, and the student care team.”
The university urged students in need to support to contact the school’s Counseling Center at 310-506-4210, with counselors available around the clock.
Cyclists ride along PCH in Huntington Beach, Calif., on May 20, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
A prayer service was held on the campus Thursday morning, with classes canceled at Seaver College to allow students to attend.
During that service, Pepperdine Provost Jay Brewster said all four women would posthumously receive their degrees.
“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,” Mr. Brewster said. “It is my great pleasure as the university’s chief academic officer to note that all four of these students are qualified to receive this honor in the class of 2024.”
The women’s deaths also renewed calls to improve safety along PCH.
Sheriff’s Department Capt. Jennifer Seetoo made an impassioned plea to the public to slow down while driving on PCH, saying the street is the scene of too many horrific crashes that have claimed lives in the past. She said the department is working with elected officials “to make sure people are educated about the dangers of PCH, to slow down on PCH.”