MALIBU, Calif. - City and county officials in Southern California are looking to improve safety measures along Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu following a devastating crash that left four Pepperdine students dead.
The tragedy occurred on a stretch of the highway often referred to by locals as "Dead Man’s Curve."
On Tuesday Oct. 17, investigators believe the driver of a BMW was speeding on PCH when Fraser Michael Bohm lost control of his vehicle. The vehicle then slammed into three parked cars before ricocheting and fatally striking the young women who were standing nearby.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials said Bohm was booked on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, but jail records show he was released from custody the following morning.
The reasoning cites California Penal Code Section 849(b)-1, which states that a suspect can be released from custody if there are insufficient grounds for making a criminal complaint against the person arrested. Sheriff's officials said the investigation into the crash is ongoing.
The 22-year-old suspect was re-arrested on Tuesday, Oct. 24 and charged with four counts of murder, according to the LA County Sheriff's Department. He is being held on $8 million.
The victims were identified by authorities as Asha Weir, Niamh Rolston, Deslyn Williams, and Peyton Stewart.
Rolston grew up in the Los Angeles area, while Weir, Stewart and Williams were from out of state. They were sorority sisters and were in their senior year as undergraduates.
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"I am heartbroken by the loss of life and have been in contact with Caltrans District 7 to ask them to expedite planned safety upgrades to PCH in portions of Malibu I represent that have safety vulnerabilities," Ventura County Supervisor Jeff Gorell posted on X. A portion of the incorporated Malibu area sits on the Ventura County line.
Pacific Coast Highway. (KTTV SkyFOX)
Also on Wednesday, sheriff’s officials said speeding is an ongoing issue on PCH.
"Some come to Malibu for the beautiful beaches," said LA Sheriff's Department Captain Jennifer Seetoo, "But then never make it home."
Seetoo urged officials to adopt speed cameras along the highway, to more effectively combat speeding drivers in Malibu. The captain noted that the PCH stretches 21 miles and that officers can't be "everywhere at once."
For Seetoo, speeding cameras are a start in the right direction.
"People slow down when they see a patrol car, you drive by the rules of the road. We've got to do something different," said.
She added reckless driving has made a devastating impact on PCH over the years.
The dangerous stretch of highway was also highlighted in the documentary "21 Miles in Malibu," which was released earlier this year. The documentary was released by film producer Michel Shane, whose credits include "I, Robot," and "Catch Me if You Can."
For Shane, he knows the heartache the families of Tuesday’s tragedy are experiencing all too well. In 2010, he lost his 13-year-old daughter on the same stretch of the highway.
LA County Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath also spoke with Seetoo and Malibu's Mayor Steve Uhring, and said they are "unified" in their call to action.
"At their request, I have asked Governor Newsom to include Malibu in the speed camera pilot being explored by the state and will work with our legislators to ensure necessary steps are taken to improve safety on our state highways in the area, including PCH," said Horvath. "I am devastated for the families of the four young female students killed last night in Malibu, and for the entire Pepperdine University community."
Editor's Note: While the families of Asha Weir, Niamh Rolston, and Peyton Stewart have granted FOX 11 permission to use their photos, the family of Deslyn Williams did not give us permission to use her image at this time.