Malibu crash: Driver reached 104 mph before collision that killed 4 Pepperdine students, Gascón says

Thursday, October 26, 2023
Driver in deadly PCH crash reached 104 mph before impact, Gascón says
The driver in a Malibu crash that killed four Pepperdine University students pleaded not guilty to murder in court.

MALIBU, Calif. (KABC) -- The driver in a Malibu crash that killed four Pepperdine University students pleaded not guilty to murder during his first court appearance Wednesday, and prosecutors said he was speeding at more than 100 mph moments before the crash.

Fraser Bohm, 22, is charged with four counts of murder and four counts of gross vehicular manslaughter.

Bohm was not visible in court Wednesday as he entered a not guilty plea. Bohm's attorney Michael Kraut claimed his client was trying to get away from someone who was aggressively chasing him just before the deadly crash on the Pacific Coast Highway last week. Investigators say Bohm was speeding when he lost control of his car and hit several parked cars, which crashed into the women who died.

WATCH: Driver re-arrested on 4 counts of murder in PCH crash that killed Pepperdine students

The driver in the crash on PCH in Malibu that killed four Pepperdine University students has been re-arrested for four counts of murder, authorities say.

"We have evidence, that the sheriff's department did not want to take, that clearly shows that there was a road-rage incident" that started before the crash, Kraut told Eyewitness News.

"This person chased him and tried to push him off the side of the road, and when he accelerated to get away from him that's when the accident occurred," Kraut said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sgt. Jim Arens said at a news conference that investigators had "no evidence" that the crash stemmed from a road-rage incident.

At the news conference, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said Bohm was allegedly traveling at 104 mph in a 45 mph zone "when he lost control of his BMW. He allegedly crashed into a parked car before crashing into four pedestrians standing together on the side of the roadway."

According to the DA, an investigation indicated that Bohm "knew his actions were dangerous to human life and deliberately acted with conscious disregard for human life, committing four counts of implied malice murder in this case."

Kraut says that Bohm was not driving that fast.

"From the black box that's inside the vehicle, that black box specifically says he is not going 104 at the time of the accident," Kraut said. "The most it shows is 70. That corroborates what he told the police. From day one, Fraser has told the police the truth, has tried to help."

MORE COVERAGE | PCH crash victims, all sorority sisters, honored during Pepperdine prayer service

A prayer service was held Thursday morning as Pepperdine University mourns the loss of four students who were killed in a crash on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.

In the immediate aftermath of the crash, Bohm was released to allow detectives to gather more evidence, authorities said. He was re-arrested Tuesday. His bail was lowered from $8 million to $4 million on Wednesday.

Kraut added that given his client made it clear to investigators that he was being chased when crash happened, his bail should be less than $4 million and his client should not be facing murder charges.

If convicted as charged, Bohm could face multiple life sentences, the district attorney's office said.

The victims were identified as Niamh Rolston, 20, Peyton Stewart, 21, Asha Weir, 21, and Deslyn Williams, 21. They were all sorority sisters and seniors at Pepperdine's Seaver College of Liberal Arts.

All four will receive their degrees posthumously and a memorial will be placed on campus to honor them.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.