June 25th, 2024

Driver in Malibu crash that killed 4 students charged with murder, prosecutor says

By The Associated Press on October 25, 2023.

Debris is seen along the Pacific Coast Highway, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023, in Malibu, Calif. Tuesday. A 22-year-old driver was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after a crash in Malibu killed four women, who are believed to be college students, and injured two others, officials said Wednesday. The six pedestrians were struck at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday along Pacific Coast Highway about 4 miles (6.4 km) east of Pepperdine University, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The 22-year-old driver of a BMW that struck and killed four Pepperdine University students in Malibu last week has been charged with four counts of murder, authorities said Wednesday.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced the charges against Fraser Bohm at a Wednesday news conference. He didn’t immediately say if Bohm had entered a plea.

Bohm was in court Wednesday, a day after he was arrested, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement. Prosecutors also charged Fraser Bohm with four counts of gross vehicular manslaughter.

Bohm had previously been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after the Oct. 17 crash but was released a day later while investigators gathered more evidence.

“In this specific case, the evidence including toxicology, speed analysis, execution of search warrants, etc. was still pending and took additional time to collect,” the statement said.

The department does not decide if criminal charges are filed, but refers cases it is investigating to prosecutors for a decision. The district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to questions about Bohm and it was not immediately known if he had an attorney. A message left at a possible phone number for his mother was not immediately returned.

Pepperdine identified those killed as Niamh Rolston, Peyton Stewart, Asha Weir and Deslyn Williams, all seniors at the school’s Seaver College of Liberal Arts.

The four sorority sisters were walking along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway at 8:30 p.m. in Malibu, only a few miles from the Christian university, when the driver lost control and sideswiped at least three parked vehicles before crashing into them and hitting two other people, according to authorities. The four women died at the scene and the two others were taken to a hospital with injuries.

“The Sheriff’s Department is relentlessly working to ensure we get justice for the victims’ families,” the statement said.

Weir was from Philadelphia and studying English, while Rolston, from Los Angeles, and Stewart, from New York, were both studying business, according to CBS Los Angeles. Williams was from an Atlanta suburb and looking into becoming a veterinarian.

Provost Jay Brewster at a prayer service last week at the university called them “bright lights with promise and aspirations.”

Bohm, who turned 22 the day before the crash, was a student athlete during high school. A 2017 Los Angeles Times story said the infielder-pitcher at Chaminade Prep was “highly regarded.”

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