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Malibu Residents Demand Safety On PCH’s “Dead Man’s Curve” In Emotional City Council Meeting

The heated council meeting came roughly one week after an Oct. 17th crash in the 21600 block of PCH that killed four Pepperdine students.

photo: Avi Richards/Unsplash

Following the deaths of four Pepperdine University students in a high-speed collision on Pacific Coast Highway one week ago today, Malibu city officials today were weighing the possibility of enacting a local state of emergency to allow for immediate speed-reduction measures on the treacherous roadway.

"How many more deaths before something is done?'' one tearful Malibu resident told their City Council during a meeting Monday night that featured more than two dozen people calling for action to improve safety on a stretch of road many call "Dead Man's Curve.''

"This is truly a time of mourning and it is also a time for action," County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath told the council. "Safety along the 21-mile stretch of Pacific Coast Highway has been a problem for far too long. As your L.A. County Supervisor, I am committed to identifying and implementing solutions in partnership with all of you in the city and with our state agencies... We will not let the boundaries of government bureaucracy be the reason we do not take action. We will bring everyone together to find and implement real solutions."

Horvath said she has been in touch with state transportation officials
and is calling on Caltrans to do what can be done immediately to reduce
speed limits on the highway while also bolstering California Highway Patrol
enforcement.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Capt. Jennifer Seeto, captain
of the Malibu-Lost Hills Station, told the council that deputies will have a greater
presence on the roadway. She said she is committed to "the three E's" --
education, enforcement and engineering.

The emotional council meeting came roughly one week after an Oct. 17
crash in the 21600 block of PCH that killed four Pepperdine students -- Niamh
Rolston, 20, Peyton Stewart, 21, Asha Weir, 21, and Deslyn Williams, 21, all
seniors at Pepperdine's Seaver College of Liberal Arts.

Sheriff's officials said the four women were standing or walking along
PCH when an allegedly speeding motorist lost control of his car and slammed
into at least three vehicles parked on the north side of the roadway. Those
parked vehicles subsequently struck the four women, leaving them dead at the
scene.

The driver, Fraser Michael Bohm, 22, also a Malibu resident, 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 at around 7:20 a.m. Wednesday, with sheriff's officials saying the investigation was
ongoing. It was still unclear if he was impaired at the time.

During Monday night's meeting, the Malibu City Council directed its staff to prepare a report on conditions on PCH and a possible declaration of a local emergency, which would allow the use of local resources to implement safety measures.

Some speakers at Monday's meeting also called for an expansion of a
newly approved state pilot program allowing the installation of speed cameras
in select communities. The legislation that authorized that pilot program
called for the cameras to be installed only in limited numbers in the cities of
Los Angeles, Long Beach, Glendale, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose.

Horvath said she has also called for an immediate meeting of the Pacific Coast Highway Task Force, a group of various stakeholders charged with exploring ways to improve safety on the roadway. She said the group was not set to meet again until December, but it will now convene in early November.

Reporting by City News Service, Inc.

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