Obituary

Malibu’s Deadly Stretch The Latest Victims from Pepperdine University

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

Tragic night

Bridget Thompson’s life takes an unexpected turn due to a late cheerleading meeting. That evening, four of her closest friends, including three roommates, were involved in a tragic accident while going to an off-campus mixer. Thompson, who almost got to be with them, described her heartbreak and the surreal reality of the accident.

As they traveled 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, trying to reunite with his friends, faced grim scenes and an unbearable all-night wait, hoping for some news. The school’s confirmation the next morning brought a painful reality to her and the Pepperdine community.

Bridget Thompson’s response

After the accident, Thompson became a vocal advocate for road safety along the Pacific Coast Highway. Her efforts led to the establishment of a poignant memorial with 58 white tires, each representing a life lost on this dangerous stretch of road since 2010. She expressed her determination her heart to ensure that her friends’ deaths will lead to meaningful change and not be 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. Their commitment to honoring their memory and advocating for change is a testament to their deep friendship as well as the impact this tragedy has had on her life.

The dangers of the Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway, a scenic route popular with tourists and locals, is notoriously dangerous. Dubbed “Dead Man’s Curve,” a particular stretch of road near the crash site is notorious for high-speed crashes and fatal accidents.

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

Despite the efforts of residents, community leaders and law enforcement, the road continues to claim lives. Los Angeles County Sheriff Jennifer Seetoo highlighted the challenges of enforcing speed limits and the need for more effective measures such as speed cameras.

The fight is on for change

The tragedy has sparked a broader debate about road safety and the responsibility of authorities such as Caltrans, the state’s highway watchdog. Caltrans is considering various safety improvements, 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 the mentoring of young children. Similarly, Bridget Thompson wished to see the 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 need urgent need for change.

The tragic deaths of four Pepperdine University students on the Pacific Coast Highway left an indelible mark on their loved ones and highlighted the urgent need to improve road safety . Bridget Thompson’s story of survival, grief, and activism captures its impact and the ongoing struggle for change. As their memorial service draws closer and memories flood back in their honor, hope grows that their deaths will not be in vain; that their deaths could help them travel more safely on the iconic but dangerous road.

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