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Malibu’s Deadly Stretch The Latest Victims from Pepperdine University

On a fateful October evening, the lives of four young Pepperdine University seniors were tragically cut short in a devastating accident along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. Bridget Thompson, a close friend and fellow senior, recounts her harrowing experience and the impact of this tragedy, which has ignited a strong call for safety changes on one of California’s most iconic yet dangerous roads.

The Night of Tragedy

Bridget Thompson’s life took an unexpected turn due to a late cheer team meeting. That evening, her four best friends, including three roommates, were involved in a catastrophic accident while heading to an off-campus mixer. Thompson, who narrowly missed being with them, describes her anguish and the surreal reality of the accident.

As they walked along the Pacific Coast Highway, a speeding BMW crashed into them, claiming the lives of Niamh Rolston, Peyton Stewart, Asha Weir, and Deslyn Williams. Thompson, attempting to reunite with her friends, was met with the grim scene and an unbearable wait through the night, hoping for some news. The school’s confirmation the next morning brought a crushing reality to her and the Pepperdine community.

Bridget Thompson’s Response

In the wake of the accident, Thompson became a vocal advocate for road safety along the Pacific Coast Highway. Her efforts led to the dedication of a poignant memorial featuring 58 white tires, each representing a life lost on this treacherous stretch of road since 2010. She expresses her determination to ensure that her friends’ deaths lead to meaningful change and are not forgotten.

Thompson reflects on the unique bond she shared with each of her lost friends, emphasizing the profound void their absence has created in her life. Her commitment to honoring their memory and advocating for change is a testament to the depth of their friendship and the impact of this tragedy on her life.

The Perils of Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway, a scenic route popular among tourists and locals, has a notorious reputation for its dangers. Dubbed “Dead Man’s Curve,” a particular stretch of the road near the accident site is infamous for its high-speed incidents and fatal accidents.

Michel Shane, a Malibu resident and father of Emily Shane, who was also killed on this road in 2010, shares his grief and frustration over the lack of substantial safety improvements since his daughter’s death. His documentary, “21 Miles in Malibu,” aims to raise awareness about the dangers of speeding and advocate for cultural changes in driving behavior.

Despite efforts from residents, community leaders, and law enforcement, the road has continued to claim lives. Los Angeles County Sheriff Capt. Jennifer Seetoo highlights the challenges in enforcing speed limits and the need for more effective measures like speed cameras.

The Ongoing Fight for Change

The tragedy has sparked a wider conversation about road safety and the responsibilities of authorities like Caltrans, which oversees state highways. Caltrans is considering various safety enhancements, but residents like Michel Shane are pushing for more drastic changes to discourage speeding and improve pedestrian safety.

Ellen Shane, Emily’s mother, honors her daughter’s memory through a foundation that supports mentorship for young children. Similarly, Bridget Thompson aspires to see a transformation of the Pacific Coast Highway as a legacy of her lost friends.

As the community continues to mourn and seek justice, the stack of white tires outside Capt. Seetoo’s office, ready to be added to the roadside memorial, serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for change.

The tragic deaths of four Pepperdine University students on the Pacific Coast Highway has left an indelible mark on their loved ones and highlighted the urgent need for road safety improvements. Bridget Thompson’s story of survival, grief, and activism captures its impact and ongoing fight for change. As their memorial service draws nearer and memories come together in their honor, hope grows that their deaths won’t have been in vain; that their deaths can lead to safer travel on an iconic yet perilous roadway.

About the author

Jack Reuben Fletcher

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