Student dies of injuries from motorcycle street racing accident

Santa Monica College student Frank Gauthier, 22, died March 12 from injuries sustained in a motorcycle street racing accident last month at the intersection of Pico Boulevard and 20th Street in Santa Monica. Sgt. Richard Lewis of the Santa Monica Police Department said that according to statements made by witnesses, Gauthier and a friend, also an SMC student, were splitting lanes at upwards of 50 mph along Pico Boulevard. Gauthier’s bike then slammed into a Ford Expedition that was making a left hand turn at 20th Street at around 12:20 p.m.

Gauthier’s friend, an international student from Morocco, was uninjured. His name has been withheld pending the outcome of the investigation. According to Lewis, the district attorney is proposing manslaughter charges as a result of the incident.

Gauthier, an international student from France, studied business and worked at the SMC bookstore for the past two years. According to bookstore operations manager, Elease Juarez, Gauthier was a respectful employee. “He was quiet, but he had a lot of friends,” she said.

News of Gauthier’s condition reached the student body shortly after the incident on Feb. 22. “When we found out who it was people were very upset. People were crying in the hallways,” Juarez said. “Everyone was hoping he would pull through.”

Juarez stated that Gauthier was involved in a motorcycle accident last July but still attended work that day. “A car had cut him off. I told him to go to the doctor and get checked out,” Juarez said. “He was nervous about worrying his mother, so he waited until he had recovered to tell her about it.”

His mother, who was unavailable for comment, attended a memorial at the Cayton Student Center on March 16 organized by bookstore employees and friends in honor of Gauthier.

Police said that alcohol was not a factor in the crash and that the driver of the SUV was not injured.

Gauthier’s is the first death of an SMC student since April of 2011 when James Henrey Freimann was killed in a traffic accident on the way to a friend’s house.