22-Year-Old Driver Involved in Malibu Collision that Resulted in the Deaths of Four College Students Denies Murder Charges; Bail Set at $4 Million

by Sophia Chen
Malibu fatal crash

Fraser Michael Bohm, the 22-year-old driver responsible for the fatal collision that took the lives of four students from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, entered a plea of not guilty to four counts of murder this past Wednesday. In addition to the murder charges, he also faces four counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, as revealed by Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón during a press conference. The court hearing, where Bohm denied all eight felony charges, took place a day following his arrest.

According to District Attorney Gascón, investigative findings indicate that Bohm was driving at a speed of 104 mph (approximately 167 kph) in an area of the Pacific Coast Highway with a posted speed limit of 45 mph (around 72 kph). Gascón further stated that evidence suggested that Bohm was fully aware that his actions posed significant risks to human lives and proceeded regardless.

Bohm’s legal representative, Attorney Michael Kraut, spoke to The Big Big News, explaining that the accident happened while his client was being pursued in a road rage encounter. Kraut elaborated that Bohm had been texting at a traffic light when he was verbally accosted by a man in another vehicle who then began to follow him. According to Kraut, this individual forced Bohm off the road after colliding with his car. Bohm subsequently passed all administered field sobriety tests and has no history of criminal activity, not even a traffic violation, Kraut added.

Contradicting this account, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Arens announced during the press conference that the investigation had found no evidence to suggest that the fatal crash was a consequence of a road rage episode.

Initially arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after the tragic event on October 17, Bohm was released a day later as investigators continued to gather more evidence, according to a sheriff’s department statement. The evidence collection process, which included toxicology tests and speed analysis among other factors, necessitated additional time, the statement elaborated.

Originally, Bohm’s bail was established at $8 million but was subsequently reduced to $4 million, as confirmed by the District Attorney’s office.

Pepperdine University disclosed the names of the deceased as Niamh Rolston, Peyton Stewart, Asha Weir, and Deslyn Williams. All were in their final year at the Seaver College of Liberal Arts. Authorities report that these students were walking along the road a few miles from their campus around 8:30 p.m. when Bohm lost control of his vehicle, sideswiping at least three parked cars before crashing into the students and injuring two others. The four students were pronounced dead at the scene, while the injured were transported to a nearby hospital.

In a statement, the Sheriff’s Department declared its commitment to ensuring justice for the victims’ families.

The deceased students had various academic interests: Weir was an English major from Philadelphia, whereas Rolston and Stewart, from Los Angeles and New York respectively, were studying business. Williams hailed from a suburb of Atlanta and had contemplated a career in veterinary medicine.

During a prayer service on campus last week, Provost Jay Brewster memorialized the students as “bright lights with promise and aspirations.”

The catastrophic incident has reignited discussions concerning the need for enhanced safety measures on the Pacific Coast Highway segment west of Los Angeles, commonly referred to as “Dead Man’s Curve.”

Bohm, who celebrated his 22nd birthday just a day prior to the accident, was an athlete in his high school years, receiving positive coverage in a 2017 Los Angeles Times article.

Should Bohm be found guilty of the charges leveled against him, he could potentially face multiple life sentences, as stated by the District Attorney’s office.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Malibu fatal crash

What are the charges against Fraser Michael Bohm?

Fraser Michael Bohm is charged with four counts of murder and four counts of gross vehicular manslaughter. He pleaded not guilty to all eight felony charges.

Who are the victims in the Malibu crash?

The victims are four students from Pepperdine University: Niamh Rolston, Peyton Stewart, Asha Weir, and Deslyn Williams. All were seniors at the school’s Seaver College of Liberal Arts.

What was the alleged speed of Bohm’s vehicle at the time of the crash?

Investigators believe that Bohm’s car reached a speed of 104 mph on a section of the Pacific Coast Highway where the posted speed limit is 45 mph.

What is the bail amount set for Fraser Michael Bohm?

The bail for Fraser Michael Bohm was initially set at $8 million but was later reduced to $4 million.

Was road rage involved in the incident, according to the defendant’s attorney?

According to Michael Kraut, Bohm’s attorney, the crash occurred while Bohm was being chased following a road rage incident. However, investigators stated that they have found no evidence to support this claim.

What is the stance of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on the incident?

The Sheriff’s Department has stated that they found no evidence that the crash was caused by a road rage incident. They are committed to ensuring justice for the victims’ families.

What were the academic interests of the deceased students?

Niamh Rolston and Peyton Stewart were studying business. Asha Weir was studying English, and Deslyn Williams was contemplating a career in veterinary medicine.

What are the legal consequences if Bohm is found guilty?

If convicted on all counts, Fraser Michael Bohm could potentially face multiple life sentences, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.

Has the incident led to calls for increased road safety?

Yes, the fatal crash has renewed calls for enhanced safety measures on the specific segment of the Pacific Coast Highway west of Los Angeles, commonly referred to as “Dead Man’s Curve.”

What is the current status of the case?

As of the latest update, Fraser Michael Bohm has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is being held on a $4 million bail. The case is ongoing, and evidence is still being collected.

More about Malibu fatal crash

  • Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Statement
  • Pepperdine University Official Announcement
  • Pacific Coast Highway Safety Measures Report
  • CBS Los Angeles Coverage on Victims
  • Sheriff’s Department Official Press Release
  • Legal Consequences of Vehicular Manslaughter in California
  • Previous Coverage of Fraser Michael Bohm in Los Angeles Times
  • Road Rage Incidents Statistics in California

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CryptoQueen October 26, 2023 - 5:53 am

So he had no prior criminal record, not even a traffic ticket? And then this? It’s baffling, really. Makes you question the whole system.

LocalResident October 26, 2023 - 7:01 am

Ive been living near that “Dead Man’s Curve” for years. It’s about time they did something about it. Too many accidents, too many lives.

UniStudent October 26, 2023 - 9:17 am

As a current student, this really hits close to home. Could’ve been any of us. Just sad.

SoccerMom October 26, 2023 - 10:10 am

Those poor families. No parent should ever have to go through this. My heart breaks for them.

AutoManiac October 26, 2023 - 10:31 am

Being in the automotive field, I can’t stress enough how much responsibility comes with being behind the wheel. This is just devastating.

FinanceGeek October 26, 2023 - 11:45 am

Multiple life sentences? If he’s found guilty, that’s gonna be a hefty cost for the state too, not to mention the lost lives. A lose-lose situation for everyone.

PoliticoGuru October 26, 2023 - 12:24 pm

Why did the bail go from $8M to $4M? seems odd given the gravity of the charges. Our justice system is truly flawed.

EcoWarrior October 26, 2023 - 4:03 pm

It’s past time for enhanced safety measures on that stretch of road. how many more lives need to be lost?

JohnDoe123 October 27, 2023 - 12:16 am

Man, this is a terrible tragedy. Cant believe someone would speed like that, especially in a zone with a 45 mph limit. Thoughts are with the victims’ families.

TechGuru October 27, 2023 - 2:49 am

Texting at a stop light led to this? Even if it was a road rage incident, that’s no excuse for going 104 mph. Unbelievable.


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