Two Killed in Fatal Accident Friday Were Friends of David Josiah Lawson, Says Lawson’s Mother

David Josiah Lawson's mother, Michelle-Charmaine Lawson, called up friends of the two women killed in Friday's crash

David Josiah Lawson’s mother, Michelle-Charmaine Lawson, called up friends of the two women killed in Friday’s crash when she spoke to the crowd gathered today to celebrate the life of her son. [Photo by Mark McKenna]

Today, at a gathering in Arcata to commemorate the one year anniversary of the fatal stabbing of David Josiah Lawson, Lawson’s mother, Charmaine Lawson, said the two young women killed in the crash Friday, April 13 near Miranda were friends of David Josiah Lawson and they had wanted to be out of town during the anniversary.

Friday's fatal wreck.

Friday’s fatal wreck. [Photo by Tara McKnight]

Lawson’s death at a house party in the early morning hours has been the subject of controversy and it has highlighted racial tensions between the largely white residents of Humboldt County and the more ethnically diverse student body at Humboldt State.

We’re following the story of the gathering today in Arcata and will bring you more information later.

A poster remembering David Josiah Lawson at a event today remembering his death one year ago.

A poster remembering David Josiah Lawson at an event today remembering his death one year ago. [Photo by Mark McKenna]

Earlier Stories on the fatal accident on Friday, April 13:

Earlier Stories about David Josiah Lawson:



  • Veteran's friend

    So many deaths….hard to get my head around this.

  • Emeraldlocalbigtreez

    Justice for zoellner!!!

    • It was a good day not to be in Arcata

    • Zoellner was not stabbed to death.

      • he suffered a criminal event that was dismissed for the sake of political appeasement.

        • What does that mean, exactly? That he was beaten up, and no one paid a price for it? Zoellner is still alive and breathing.
          DJ Lawson’s life is over, forever. You can’t take back Death. Justice would mean prosecuting his killer, the one who knifed him to bleed out at Death’s door.


            You can’t take back an entire community,police force, and news outlets printing your beat-up face and calling murderer for months without strong evidence.

  • Coletta A Hughes

    I’m just another Townie here that most HSU students annoy the hell out of with all their shallow and overbearing PC BS. Students at HSU at one time use to be cool, but nowadays most are just a bunch of pretentious spoiled brat neohippies that are only Jacking up all the rental prices. Yes I see them as a form of gentrification that’s not a healthy thing for Humboldt… They feed the wealth of the narrow minded faculty and greedy rental owners. Now they’re becoming violete too, just like the violent cities they all come from.

    • Whoa! I was trying to find a way of polite phrasing about the report of being friends with Josiah Lawson as being neither news worthy nor offering reconciliation but you went straight for the jugular.

      • For some reason their deaths bringing attention to josiah seems kind of shallow. No offense to either party , but this seems a very impersonal way to acknowledge theses ladies lives and deaths.

        • parallel universe

          I hear you, but the coincidental irony of it has me somewhat pop-eyed. Josiah got stabbed in a pretty random fashion, given whatever anyone thinks about Arcata, it being a pretty mellow place and a stabbing going unnoticed at a party…and then these ladies attempt to get away from the memory of whatever that is and are, well obliterated.

        • Agree guest…. And confused.

      • I sincerely hope that sooner or later either someone will break down and admit what they know. It would be hard to stab someone several times at a party (or outside it) and nobody sees the act or the immediate aftermath.

        The silence is disgusting!

        • headedyes its disgusting,no one ever talks .My son was murderd on sept 15 13and his murder was never stab and he died..These people know what there doing.

    • Humboldt Hillsman

      What makes you think that any significant number of HSU students come from violent cities? Strange comment. In fact the most compelling evidence suggests that it was a local that commited the violence.

      • Sharpen your pencil

        No, evidence doesn’t. The narrow minded “friends” of Josiah have done that. Just the same as they delayed efforts to save their friends life by not allowing officers to secure the scene. There wasn’t enough evidence to bring a trial. You are only further spreading misinformation!

      • Define most-compelling. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

    • Collette: or maybe you just got older and less in touch

      • Or maybe she is wise enough to realize how stupid and irrational many kids are at college age. And how they are so strident in their beliefs with only a small slice of real world experience. I would much rather be in touch with reality than pop culture.

    • Sounds like you are having a problem finding affordable housing and very angry about it. I see no connection between three young people’s deaths and your housing problem. These kids didn’t raise your rent. Stay focused on the issues. There has been no arrest of the murderer so, how can you say he was from a violent city? Maybe he was homegrown from your city. If you fail to recognize the violence among locals and the crime rate in Humboldt county, you are not living in reality. You refer to them as shallow people but, you’ve taken the time to denegrate young people on a post about several young people’s deaths and somehow tried to link it to your personal housing issue. You are the out of touch shallow one here.

      • parallel universe

        Too many words.
        Hers at least had feeling.
        Someone killed the boy. His friends cost him his life using their newfound self-empowerment without discernment. And they haven’t the wisdom or introspection yet to see that.
        Meanwhile, he’s dead, the murderer is free, and you’re egging on in a forum that she should stay on task.

    • more accurately, they are post-modernist cultural-marxist nihilist [edit].

    • Go build a wall then. Meanwhile, can we make this about the two young ladies who have passed on?

    • unbridled philistine

      Cannot agree more with Collette, HSU will not be happy until it is just like Berkley!

  • It is tragedy and irony multiplied that, as reported, the young women wanted to escape Arcata, seemingly to avoid the drama and/or the terrible memories it would provoke for them, only to be killed in such a horrible way.

    • The girls had tons of whip it’s in their car when they crashed….

      • What are whip its? And has there been any report of impairment being a cause of this accident?

        • Individual doses of nitrous oxide.

          • Oh dear…we messed around with nitrous oxide at parties in high school. Not everyone remained conscious. Didn’t know they come in single serving sizes these days. It was always handed out in balloons back in the day… Anyway, thanks for the answer.

            • Truth, Ben Round—a fatal outcome whose irony underscores the tragedy. Very sad.

            • You can buy them by the case or small box at that sex shop next to Subway in Arcata. Never do while driving! It could explain their erratic driving behavior and subsequent deadly accident. But is it true that they were doing whip-its? What is the source of that information?

      • C. That is news .

        • It is defiantly true. I was first one out of my car on scene and they were there. I don’t know if they were doing them while driving but they had them in their car.

      • that better not be true, if it is I don’t know what to say.

        • Yeah, what about the poor older woman they hit. She is the real victim here. Hope she is doing ok….

          • Kym, has there been any word on the woman in the other vehicle in the Friday the 13 accident?

            • Privacy laws mean that reporters can’t get information on someone’s health easily. It is unlikely unless she or family reaches out to us that we’ll know how she is doing.

      • nitrous, eh?

        well, if their driving is any indicator then it’s a good thing they weren’t trying to stab anyone a friend was holding in a headlock, they might have accidentally stabbed the wrong person.

        • I’m shocked, SHOCKED, that you so insult the victims of terrible tragedy! We all know that people are never at fault for their own demise – in death they instantly become angels and all of their transgressions are forgiven in the kingdom of god and earth! I haven’t been this upset since Jeffrey Dahmer was murdered in prison.

  • There’s a misfortunate family being recovered from the river as we speak. Let’s respect their family and give this nonsense a couple of days rest.

  • Nothing but love and respect for these young women and their families. The negative comments on here after two young women lost their lives is embarrassing to our community. I pray for their families and loved ones in this terrible time.

    • I totally agree. Compassion in this time of many tragedies so close to home.

    • If it's true the scene was littered with whippit cans, that is fucked af

      Love and respect?
      No, shame and disgust.

      As if driving isn’t risky and difficult enough without reckless young women intoxicated in nitreous sharing the road with you.

      And the more I think about it the more I wonder why this article came to be at all . And why the two stories are now linked.

      Imo “racial tensions” are created when black or mixed race people blame every single thing that happens to them on the color of their skin. Or conversely on the color of the skin of others. Every. Single. Thing. Like all white cops wake up everyday wanting to oppress and murder them. Does that make sense? No . I honestly don’t get it . Call me privileged but I have seen far more hate and bold disrespect by black or mixed race folks towards whites based solely on race . Apparently they believe they are entitled to hate and judge white people because of generations of oppression. Ok. But it doesn’t seem to be helping anything.

      • Let me guess-you are white? maybe you should really try to understand the issue before putting your lily-white attitude all over it. If white people were treated like black and brown people there would be no end to the whining and protesting. I am surprised black and brown-skinned people do not protest more given what they have endured and continue to endure. Name one white person hanged for being white-that is right, you can’t. Thousands of black people were hanged following the Civil War for no reason except hate and oppression. Hundreds of studies have domented the institutional racisim of our justice system.

        • Whoa . ” Let me guess- you’re white.”…” Lily- white attitude…? ”

          I don’t think you should go there with me.

          Freedom club \/ comment below had good reply to this lame narrative . Read it.

        • I totally agree, I was pulled over for possibly speeding by LEO,then told to get out of my car ,then thrown on the ground while officer scream quit resisting , he cuffed me and threw me in his partners car, hauled me to jail , wrote me up for disobeying a direct order , which could be anything,the officer that drove me to jail told me I should press charges against their partner, my car was impounded and I spent a few hours in jail, I had no prior arrests or rap sheet, I work everyday, have a family, and I am WHITE, shit happens to everyone , I hate red cars ,does that make me racist ,yes according to today’s definition

          • And I am guessing that if the officer was black you wouldn’t have gathered a bunch of your white friends and ran around looking for statues of black folks to tear down. It’s funny to me that the ones who want to be fighting racism are the ones making everything out to be about race. How about they lead by example and look at situations independently rather than tossing around the race card like a rag doll. If you wanted to be treated like an equal I would say try acting like one. I won’t bring race into things if they don’t either. I know plenty of white folks who are always acting like some type of victim and I don’t like it at all in them either.


              Exactly. My sister is a total bitch to everyone,and claims it’s because she’s female tbat folks duon’t like her.

  • Coletta, I couldn’t have said it better, many of long time humboldt natives i know agree too. And shame on mom lawson looking for more publicity by bringing in the tragic loss of the two girls into her personal twisted agenda.I hope she spoke with the girls family before making comment

    • Not sure what's happening here

      That’s what I’m thinking… It’s a weird assbackwards way of releasing the names but not actually releasing the names.

      (Hopefully) Lots of people are friends of any given deceased person.. to marry these to stories because of an “association” seems like a stretch to me.

  • She knows them? So apparently the names have been released? I must’ve missed it

  • Can anyone please confirm the names of the girls that passed away in accident on April 13th?

  • I think comment sections on community news sites can be a great feature, Kym, but sometimes they give unkind people a platform to say abusive things to families experiencing unspeakable loss. I suggest some extra moderation on this one.

    • J., if you see something specific that concerns you, please let me know.

      • I believe its concerning, that there are people on here spreading information that has yet to be determined or confirmed, and it is being allowed to stay.

        Nothing has been confirmed, nothing has been released to the public, at least non that I have seen reported. Why are comments that are spreading rumors ok to stay? It could slander the image of these two young girls whom lost their lives.

        • Because open discourse is essential to a healthy and functioning society. We all know that the results of an accident investigation will be released publicly in due time and any “inappropriate slander” will be remedied at that time. I think you’re more concerned about truthful things that make people look bad and hurt “their image.” In that case it’s time you learned an important lesson in life about the difference between reality and the lies people often tell themselves.

          • BTW Not the same guest

            Like almost everything else, it’s not so simple as that. Open discourse is important but for it to be useful for understanding, it must be conducted responsibly. And it matters not just because the relatives don’t need to have extra hostility dumped on them but misinformation has a life of its own. Even if the media goes to the bother of reporting the final results of investigation, which they rarely do, having moved on to current violence, there are those who keep spreading it either out of wanting to condemn the victims or the authorities.

            So objecting to rumors or questionable information is just as relevant as giving out. And this earlier Guest posting was reasonbly phrased and did not engage in personal attacks. I was wonder the same thing- how do they know?

          • Speculation, guesses, rumors and opinions are not truth and do nothing to further an informed discourse. Quite the opposite , in fact, as evidenced by some of the the comments here. Opinions are not facts. Bored, busybodies blather on with no regard , respect or compassion for the two young women who died and the woman who undoubtedly is suffering ,traumatized by this horrific accident. . My condolences to all involved and affected by this tragic accident.

  • Well don’t worry everyone Humboldt State University is getting a really bad rap all over the State of California because of this fight and stabbing at this party unfortunately everyone else at this Unversity gets to feel the bad times and vibes that these types of fights at parties sometimes perpetuate and believe me people are talking about it in other places these young adults that knew Josiah Lawson that died in this horrible accident are acquaintances of his that is the whole connection there duh ! Obviously if young adults want to have these types of parties they need to try much harder to get along in a more civilized manner or else these situations might occur again hopefully there will be a break or developing evidence that can provide juctice for Josiah and rent always goes up every year in every college town this nothing unusual .

    • College kids fighting and drunk people stabbing each other have always happened. It’s only a racial issue because people are making it one. It’s really showing the ugly side of our community- on both sides.
      Pretty clear Kyle is guilty.

      • It’s nice to know that all the investigating and witness interviews you have done give you the knowledge and facts to determine Kyle’s guilt. You should share your facts and findings with LE so they can wrap up this case, and Lawson’s family can have closure. Good job Det. Emily!!!
        (fyi….the guilty person could be anyone at the party including Lawson’s friends)

        • The most obvious answer is usually correct. So, the guy Lawson was fighting with (or kicking his ass) was probably the one who stabbed him.
          Nothing I’ve seen makes me think otherwise.

          • Just in the name of accuracy you mean Lawson and his friends were kicking his ass. Arcata should ban knifes, londons trying to do it and Arcata is the most forward thinking town in the nation so you guys should continue to lead by example.


              Yeah, UK pays out millions in damages for barfights where folks get “glassed”(pint glass weapon),they are offering money for new unbreakable pint glass designs.

          • I hope you are never selected for jury duty. People’s lives depend on decisions based on ‘proven facts’ not what appears to be the obvious, in your opinion.

  • She should also claim that the Thotaphillys were friends of her son and also just trying to put racist Humboldt County in their rearview.

  • Its so heartbreaking that all these young people lost their lives. Prayers and love to their families.

  • Largely White Residents...

    Kym, really? I would really like to know how the killing “highlighted racial tensions between the largely white residents of Humboldt County and the more ethnically diverse student body at Humboldt State.” It simply demonstrated that alcohol, egos, and stupid college kids shouldn’t mix. While David’s death should have never happened, to blame it entirely on race is just ignorant in my opinion. Good thing the statue is coming down, maybe the white residents of Humboldt County will stop being so racist…

    • I am not saying that racial problems caused the death of Lawson. I’m saying his death exposed the tensions that do exist.

      • you made it sound wrong. What you may have meant is that racial tensions that didn’t previously exist were ignited by a group of people crying, “hate crime”. Or something to that effect. It was the protesters who blamed a white guy that stirred it all up.

        • No, I didn’t mean that at all. There have been racial tensions since the first tribes sparred with other tribes in this area. And more recently, not long before the Lawson case there was the report of white men chasing two black girls and terrifying them–and that is just one of the incidents. Trying to pretend that all was hunky-dory between various races here until Josiah Lawson’s death is inaccurate.

          • And it goes both ways . Pretending only white people can be racist is a new trend in pop culture that is really disturbing

            • unbridled philistine

              Racism here? Never seen it! More fake news brought to you by HSU libs! Another non issue.

            • Pretending that racism against white people is an important issue is ignorant. Name one institution that is biased against white people. Black and brown people’s fear of white people is not racism.

              • The Nation of Islam

              • The People’s Republic of China

              • Dan, if you are fine with racism vs one group, but not the next then you are just as bad as the racists you are rallying against. Fearing blacks is no less valid than fearing whites. How about instead of just lumping everyone into groups you grow the fuck up and judge people on an individual basis. Life isn’t fair, never will be. I am a member of one of the most discriminated groups in the history of civilization. Study history. Change and evolution is a slow process. I find that the people that keep making everything about race are actually causing a great backlash that is counterproductive towards their ultimate cause.

              • Countless fights with black/brown/yellow over the years because of having orange hair.
                They were always the instigators,and always made it known that it was the orange hair on a stranger that they were beating,not the scared kid that didn’t know. Fucking racists!

          • I don’t think many ever pretended to think “everything was fine between the races…” what is objectionable is weight that is given to this one murder because the various media enjoy being a proxy warrior on the side of the disadvantaged, whether it is appropriate or not. Or true or not.

            There are a number of unsolved murders which are forgotten. If a black man had been suspected of murdering another black man I doubt whether much would have been made of the idea that there was a fatal car accident involving people who were friends of the deceased. Or a white man suspected of killing a white man. And a black man suspected of murdering a white man would have actually been press repellent. At least I never heard of anything remotely similar in any other case. That raises suspicions about motivation in an area of press reporting already highly suspect.

            The fact that this is a privately owned site doesn’t change those suspicions at all. Having the power to avoid criticism by eliminating commenting is always possible but having it provides much that is informative and makes this site better than most. Albeit a real PITA for the reporter.

            • I was specifically replying to the commenter who blamed protestors for igniting “racial tensions that didn’t previously exist.”

              This homicide is being given a lot of weight for various reasons. The first is that it happened to a good-looking young person. The second that it happened at a youthful party over a disagreement that should have melted away and been forgotten in a week. The third is it highlights issues among an increasingly multicultural student population at HSU and a white community. It also echos a movement that young people are passionate about–black rights.

              And, I believe you are correct that some involved feel the need to highlight their positions as liberals by focusing on the story. AND, some want to highlight their positions as conservative by arguing the story is not very important. So you have conflict, and whenever you have conflict, the articles get more interest and that draws eyes which is what a starving news media needs to feed advertisers.

              • I’ll agree he was a handsome boy, with an Elvis Presley smile.
                I don’t agree with the sum of the evils.
                An individual walked into a crowd of friends, with the intent of settling a wrong with an individual who was in the crowd of friends.
                The individual didn’t stop to think about mob mentality agendas. Had he of thought about mob mentality agendas, he would have waited until he could settle the wrong one on one.
                It’s too late now for hindsight, for either one. But not for the gullible mob.
                They will be caught out. Eyes and ears are everywhere. Just ask Julian or Edward. E V E R Y W H E R E.
                Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

  • It finally occurred to me that this is not a story about the women who died in the crash nor about Josiah Lawson. It is probably not as arbitrary an article as it seems. Nor as hostile a one.
    Otherwise it is a shot out of the blue that no one knows what to do with.

    The person that this is about is Josiah’s mother, maybe his friends and the emotional state aggravated by car accident deaths after this long dragged out investigation- maybe although this is still not clear. I think this was meant to be a human interest story but it was not clear as it was written that it was not just more of the hostile political maneuvering that lead to the mess of an investigation in the first place.

    Maybe. It’s still not clear but it would a better interpretation than it’s just another pot shot at all the local community for the “highlighted racial tensions”. That would be another attack arousing anger than sympathy. Which could be equally what was meant I suppose.

    • It’s just a side-door way to release the identities of the victims of this crash. This is a small region and people are always very concerned until they know who was involved in such a crash. Knowing the circles they ran in can provide insight into that and also provide an avenue to finding out who it was. This is very helpful, especially for the many Humboldt-connected people who live out of the area. If you are angry that this information came out, well look at the lady who the article is about because she’s the one letting that cat out of the bag and being quoted here.

  • Atcata folks please do a ride along with Arcata PD, you will get a glimpse of whats really going on in your community. Thank god i live in the mountains.

  • They knew they’d meet again someday, but they never thought in a million years it would be this soon. If only we really are immortal when we’re so young. I guess we can take comfort in knowing the friends have reunited and that Josiah is alone no more. I’ll even go so far as to say they’ve shouted in every one’s ears, to chill, enjoy life before it’s gone too soon. Life’s too short for BS.

    As to closure for Charmaine, just know that sunlight is the best disinfectant. Look how many years it’s taken to get down to the truths about the Eric Gardner investigation. If it weren’t for the OIG report on McGabe, and the genuine investigative citizen reporters who dug through the OIG report, his story would not be seeing light right now either. Truth always wins, if we let it. I hope and pray the light will shine on Josiah’s case soon too.

    “Hidden within the OIG report on McCabe’s leak to Barrett of the WSJ, is an astronomically damning correlation between Loretta Lynch, the NY Field Office of the FBI, McCabe, and the NYPD.” – – x Tracy Beanz, a citizen investigative journalist.

    • This is a really helpful post and brings hope for the future to my ears. I’m going to go read up on the OIG report now.

      • All the info the investigators uncovered was from open source. Everyone wants to know why MSM (main stream media) neglected to investigate and report on this years ago.
        That’s not to say that the journalists weren’t trying to have their reports published without edits.
        I tip my hat to all the journalists who tried their damnest to have the truths published, and to all the journalists & media’s who never gave up.

        After you’ve made your own notes, be sure to read the thread roll out at Reddit. As you know, checking comparisons & filling in the gaps through more investigative research is paramount.

        Oh, and like millions of readers out there, (globally), who are tired of the censorships going on in www land, be sure to save everything you find of importance (or in need of further investigation) to your floppy.

  • if it’s true they were taking nitrous hits while driving.. i have no sympathy except for the unfortunate person they involved in their idiotic misadventure. anyone who would flirt with a powerful anesthetic while operating a motor vehicle deserves what they get.

    • Yes, if that’s true we should be celebrating their removal from the community. The idea of doing nitrous while driving is just absurd.

  • This isn’t news. If NO2 was in the car, that is news.

  • who cares if they were friends with him? terrible writing!
    on to other news! my dog saw them drive by

  • I feel bad for his mom and family for losing their son , that’s terrible thing to bear that I would not wish upon my worst enemy .But not for the people who have ghoulishly and opportunistically leaped upon Josiah Lawson’s coffin to use as their own personal soapbox I have no sympathy or respect.This kid wasn’t killed because he was Black he died because got involved in a drunken,coked up brawl at 3am , in which he was a very willing participant. . I’m not saying he deserved to die just that he was engaging in very dangerous reckless behavior . He could have made other decisions which would have saved his life.

  • I believe Zoellner did it… Or at the very least he had a hand in it.

  • another racist comment section

  • wheres Zach!

  • Kym, if you cant even mention these ladies names you should remove this post. You have made these womens deaths entirely about josiah lawson and its insulting. You have in no way given these women any recognition, this article is drawing people to josiah lawson and our embarrissingly inefficient police, when it should be recognizing the life and death of these women, not a march for josiah. Terrible.

    • I don’t have their names and I will update with them later but their deaths are part of the burden of grief that many at HSU are bearing. I am sorry that somehow this appears offensive to you but it is not to the majority of people.

  • I am so sorry for the loss of two more young people, particularly so because their friends and families are still reeling from the raw emotions of the death of their friend/child/brother a year ago.

  • If they were driving and sucking on drugs , they are dip shits. May they rest in hell. I feel sorry for the innocent people hurt.

  • Beautifully tragic. Rest in paradise young queens and king.

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