A female pedestrian was struck by a car and killed as she crossed Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) on Tuesday, July 21, around 8:30 p.m., the LA County Sheriff ’s Department confirmed. The incident took place near the intersection of Winding Way West and PCH, which is close to two crowded tourist destinations—the trailhead to Escondido Falls and Paradise Cove Beach.
The victim was identified as 48-year-old Kerrie Johnson, a Caucasian female. She was a pedestrian struck by a vehicle in an incident that was ruled by the coroner’s department to have been an accident. The department spokesperson was not able to provide Johnson’s city of residence.
Authorities reached at the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff ’s Station declined to release any additional information, including whether there was an ongoing investigation.
The fatality occurred just a day after six cars were involved in two separate collisions on PCH. At 7:25 p.m. Monday, July 20, a two-vehicle crash happened near Kanan Dume Road with no one hospitalized. The second collision, at 8:22 p.m., involved four vehicles and was just four miles away from the first accident, near Malibu Seafood, sheriff’s officials reported online. Paramedics rushed one injured person to a hospital in unknown condition.
Lori Gray, a 27-year resident of Winding Way Road, is one neighbor who expressed her frustration over the dangerous situation at the intersection.
“I just got back from hiking and all I could do was think of the dangers/tragedies and how out-of-control this situation is,” she wrote in an email sent to neighbors and shared with The Malibu Times. “I don’t think anyone who doesn’t live on Winding Way is really aware of the dangers those of us face when trying to drive down the street, and the dangers facing the thousands of people strolling up our very Winding Way to access the Escondido Canyon trailhead.”
She said she believes at least five fatalities have taken place at nearly the same location on PCH (“not to mention the fatalities, serious injuries and rescues that take place almost every weekend at Escondido Falls”). After one fatal PCH accident involving a 16-year-old, Gray said she was instrumental in getting Caltrans—the department in charge of the highway’s infrastructure—to put in an eastbound left turn lane near Paradise Cove.
Some of the traffic fatalities near the intersection of PCH and Winding Way that Gray referred to include the following: In 2010, Amelia Ordona, 74, a home healthcare worker, was struck and killed by a vehicle as she crossed Pacific Coast Highway to get to her bus stop. In December 2017, a police pursuit on PCH ended when the alleged car thief crashed and took the life of 28-year-old Juan Castillo as he was putting out garbage cans near the road. In December 2018, motorcyclist Seann Patrick Flynn, 29, of Los Angeles was killed when he hit a garbage truck.
Although the latest traffic studies completed a few years ago did not pinpoint the PCH/Winding Way intersection as one of the most dangerous in Malibu, conditions appear to have changed since that study was completed. As social media brings throngs of visitors out to Escondido Falls and Paradise Cove Beach, visitors now park along PCH for miles, often coming to a dead stop on the 60-mile-per-hour, four-lane highway to wait for parking spots and run across PCH on foot, sometimes with babies in strollers or carrying large coolers.
“My husband, Larry, and I truly support public access and take great pleasure in seeing families out in nature, but not when it comes to risking lives to get here,” Gray continued. “We have thousands coming here, and the numbers and accidents just keep growing. How many more people have to die or get seriously injured before something is done? I don’t have the answers but hope the experts will come to our aid.”