top of page
  • Helena Kelly

Is 'Blood Alley' America's most dangerous road? 'Catch Me If You Can' producer lays bare the dangers


A devastating new documentary is set to lay bare the dangers and mounting death toll of California's 'blood alley' - a strip of the Pacific Coast Highway which runs through celebrity playground Malibu.


Filmmaker Michel Shane - who produced I, Robot and Catch Me If You Can - created 21 Miles in Malibu in tribute to his daughter Emily, 13, after she was mowed down by a manic driver while walking on the strip in 2010.


The stretch of PCH has been the scene of 49 fatal collisions in the last decade including a 2015 crash between Caitlyn Jenner and victim Kim Howe.


It attracts hundreds of thousands of cars every weekend due to its connections to a host of scenic spots popular with the rich and famous - but its lax safety measures have been the subject of fierce political debate.


Shane, who crowdfunded $37,138 to make the documentary through a Kickstarter page, said his ambition was to make people 'angry' about the lack of safety measures on the road.


'This is not about box office sales, it's about creating change,' he told Dailymail.com.


'I am not a politician, that's not what I'm trying to do. I am just trying to make enough people angry to create change.


'Everybody knows how dangerous this part of the highway is. Every few years there is a big crash and there's a new government and more research is released but nobody is actually doing anything to make it safer.'


The documentary alleges there are more than 400 collisions on the strip of PCH annually while 17 fatalities and more than 633 injuries have been recorded there since 2015.


Addressing his daughter's death on April 3 2010, Shane added: 'That day changed my life.


'There was my life before that happened and there is my life afterwards.'


Emily was walking from her friend's house to meet her father when she was struck by a vehicle along PCH at Heathercliff Road - which has since been named Emily Shane Way in her honor. She died instantly.


There are no sideways along that strip of the highway despite there being lots of pedestrian magnets including bus stops and a shopping center.


Emily's killer Sina Khankhanian, who was 26 at the time, was reported to have been despondent about losing his job and was driving recklessly along the coast.


He was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison in 2012.


At the time, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Katherine Mader labelled Emily a 'wise and lovely' young woman, adding 'I can't imagine the pain a mother would feel.'


Emily's mother Ellen features in the documentary - which took ten years to complete - and is heard in the trailer saying 'she was a really good kid, she was a sweet, kind person who didn't have a mean bone in her body.'


Data from the California Highway patrol shows that there have been 49 fatalities on the 21 miles of PCH in Malibu between 2012 and 2022.


It lists distraction, speeding and intoxication as the main reasons for collisions.


In February 2015 Caitlyn Jenner, who then identified as Bruce and was at the start of her transgender journey, slammed into the back of a vehicle driven by 70-year-old Kim Howe.


It prompted a four-vehicle crash which killed Howe, an animal rights activist, at the scene.


Caitlyn had been driving a Cadillac 4x4 and towing a dune buggy. She paid $800,00 in damages to Howe's family.


In June that same year, 47-year-old rapper MC Supreme, known for his song 'Black in America', was sitting in a parked vehicle on the highway when a pick-up truck smashed into him.


The artist, whose real name was Dewayne Lawrence Coleman, was pronounced dead at the scene while his female passenger was taken to hospital.


At the time Hollywood actor Rob Lowe tweeted: 'PCH's been a death trap for decades.


'No local care to address it. Sad and unacceptable.'


In 2018 three Las Vegas teenagers were died on the highway, near Huntington Beach, after being slammed into by a drunken driver.


Bani Duarte, then 27, killed 17-year-old Brooke Hawley, Dylan Mack, 18, and Albert AJ Rossie, 17, in the fatal collision.


More recent victims include Annabelle Ferrer Robinson who was killed with her dad, aunt and family friend in a fiery crash on the Highway near Point Mugu Rock in November last year.


In the same month, petrifying dashcam footage captured the moment a motorcyclist is slammed into by a pick-up truck on the highway.


The footage shows the driver, Stephen Levey, calmly waiting to make a left turn off the busy highway.


But a black SUV speeds directly onto the highway from Kanan Dume Road, clipping a large gray pick-up truck which flies into Levy.


He suffered nine broken ribs, a damaged right food, a collapsed lung and 'a lifetime of trauma,' he said at the time.


21 Miles in Malibu is described as a 'hybrid of personal stories of loss, the history of a loved place and a cautionary tale of government indifference.'


A trailer for the documentary begins with panoramic shots of Malibu looking beautiful in the sun.


Shane's voice can be heard saying: 'Malibu is this little oasis where wealthy people and average people get away, relax and enjoy the natural beauty.'


But shortly afterwards another voice is heard saying 'this road was never meant to handle this many people.'


Shane's wife, Emily's mother, is then filmed saying: 'This is going to end badly.'


A montage of fiery crashes are then shown on screen against the backdrop of the scenic highway.


It is directed by Emmy-award winning documentary maker Nic Davis.


In a statement about the project, he said: '21 Miles in Malibu is about a lot more than the Pacific Coast Highway.


'It highlights the juxtaposition between one of the most iconic places in the world, and one of the deadliest.'


Earlier this month a meeting of California transport authority Caltrans committed to redesigning the stretch of road with heightened safety measures in mind - though the changes are still in the planning phase.


35 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

The danger of '21 Miles in Malibu'

Article from Spectrum News 1: https://spectrumnews1.com/ca/la-west/public-safety/2023/11/17/malibu--pch--?cid=share_clip MALIBU, Calif. — In the wake of deadly crashes on the PCH, families and local l

Memorial honors students killed on PCH

Video from FoxLA: https://www.foxla.com/video/1311826 The community gathered to erect a "ghost tire" memorial for Niamh Rolston, Peyton Stewart, Asha Weir and Deslyn Williams, the Pepperdine Universit

Comments


bottom of page