Labor Day crowds returned to Malibu to cool down—inland temperatures reached sweltering triple-digits—celebrate at the beach and enjoy the Chili Cook-off. Overall, it was fairly quiet considering the crowds, but the weekend ended tragically as a pedestrian was struck and killed on Pacific Coast Highway near Cross Creek Road on Monday night, Sept. 6.
At 8:38 p.m. Monday, a man crossing PCH just west of Cross Creek is reported to have darted across lanes when he was struck by a car. According to sheriff’s officials, the man, described as a transient, was killed instantly.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Jim Braden reported the driver of the vehicle and a passenger were Pepperdine University students who immediately pulled over. “There was no intoxication on their part,” Braden said. He added a witness stepped forward to corroborate the account. A toxicology exam will be conducted on the victim. No identification was immediately available.
While law enforcement reported a somewhat well-behaved crowd at the Chili Cook-Off, there were a few skirmishes reported. One assault apparently happened just outside the fairgrounds at closing time Friday night, Sept. 3. A teenaged victim was taken to St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica for treatment. Though at the time unsubstantiated reports claimed it was a hate crime, that was not confirmed by the LASD. The victim and perpetrators were all reportedly white. Other reports that the assault included a stabbing were also unsubstantiated; although Braden reported there was bruising and signs of a laceration, no knife was reportedly used.
Sunday night at the close of the Chili Cook-Off security was dealing with a man when a female interceded and “escalated the situation.” She was taken in for resisting arrest.
LASD was also investigating a report from a bicyclist who claimed she was struck by a male transient on Sunday morning; no injuries were reported in that incident.
While 1.6 million people visited area beaches over the long weekend, Los Angeles County Lifeguard Public Information Officer Pono Barnes said the loss of a beach parking lot at Westward Beach probably lowered Malibu attendance. The road washed out last month, barring access to the Point Dume lot, which could be the reason local beach attendance was lower than usual at 241,500 visitors.
From Sept. 4–6, there were 355 ocean rescues county wide, lifeguards made over 28,000 preventative actions and there were 427 calls for medical service. In Malibu, there were 89 ocean rescues, more than 4,000 preventative actions and 106 calls for medical service. Barnes commented, “It was a relatively mellow Labor Day Weekend. We had amazing weather. Everybody went home safe, which is good.”
Braden, who often works with the sheriff’s beach team, reported the beach crowds were “robust, especially on Sunday, but manageable.” A number of alcohol-related tickets were given out by deputies over the long holiday weekend with only one alcohol-related arrest at the beach.
The LASD Volunteers on Patrol (VOP) wrote 582 traffic and parking tickets from Friday through Monday. VOPs responded to five traffic collisions and also assisted at the chili cook-off.
“For the most part everyone was pretty well behaved,” team leader Mark Russo described, even though “there were a lot of teenagers running around. After being cooped up, they were overly excited to be out, but for the most part everything went pretty well. All things considered it was a calm weekend, relatively speaking.”
The Malibu Search and Rescue Team responded to heat-related rescues over the weekend. On Saturday, a hiker suffering from heat exhaustion needed a rescue. The 32-year-old male was on Bulldog Motor Way and Castro Peak Way.
“Because of the remote location, a LACoFD [fire department] helicopter was able to reach him first and airlift him to safety and treat him,” David Katz, MSAR team leader, described. “It’s a very exposed area there with no trees or shade, as most of the areas in Malibu these days are. You start a hike early in the morning and then, a few hours later, you’re in the exposed heat and it’s blaring down on you. Eventually, you have no shade to get any refuge from the heat.”
On Sunday afternoon, two missing elderly female hikers were reported in Topanga. The women, aged 82 and 85, started their hike in the morning with a third octogenarian and got separated, but the three were eventually reunited after a search. MSAR treated one victim for heat exhaustion.