Tuesday, May 9, 2017

THIRD UPDATE: Pedestrian Killed in 101 Hit and Run ID

Posted By on Tue, May 9, 2017 at 2:55 PM

THIRD UPDATE: The Humboldt County Coroner's Office has identified the pedestrian killed May 5 on U.S. Highway 101 north of the airport as McKinleyville resident Ralph Pak Summers. He was 49.

CHP Officer Cy May said the case is active and the agency is "following up on some pretty good investigative leads."

He says investigators believe they have identified the driver and owner of a second vehicle suspected of being involved in the fatal collision and expects more information to become available in the coming days.

SECOND UPDATE: Humboldt CHP is still looking for a possible second vehicle related to this morning’s fatal traffic collision. Based on several vehicle parts/debris left at the scene it has been determined that we are looking for a 1997-2003 Ford F-150 dark in color. If anyone has any information please contact the Humboldt Area CHP Office at (707)822-5981 during business hours or the Humboldt Communications Center at (707)268-2000 for after business hours.

UPDATE: Humboldt CHP has recovered one of the vehicles involved, a 1995 Ford Escort, and has arrested David J. Lara of Trinidad on felony hit and run charges. Lara was taken into custody and was booked into the Humboldt County Jail early this morning. The CHP has "reason to believe a second vehicle was involved in this collision and is still outstanding." They are still looking for a dark blue full sized pickup with undercarriage damage.


The California Highway Patrol responded to news of a dead body this morning on U.S. Highway 101 between McKinleyville Airport and Clam Beach. Little information is available at this time but it appears that a male pedestrian was struck by a vehicle traveling in the northbound lane. The CHP and Humboldt County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene, closing the highway at 1:19 a.m. and reopening it at 2:27 a.m. The CHP is currently looking for a "dark blue full sized pickup truck with damage to the undercarriage and wheel wells." According to the CHP, "there may have been multiple occupants in the suspect vehicle."

This is the 14th traffic fatality of 2017, and the fifth that involved a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle.

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Judge Dismisses Murder Charge in Slaying of HSU Student

Posted By on Fri, May 5, 2017 at 3:34 PM

  • Arcata Police Department
  • Kyle Zoellner
Update: The city of Arcata released a statement that is copied in its entirety below the original post, as are statements from Humboldt State University and the Humboldt County District Attorney's Office.

Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Dale Reinholtsen ruled this afternoon that there is insufficient evidence to hold Kyle Christopher Zoellner to stand trial on a charge that he murdered David Josiah Lawson on April 15.

Friends and family of Zoellner’s clapped as the judge announced his ruling, after which bailiffs quickly led the defendant out of the packed courtroom. Some who had been attending the hearing in support of Lawson, a 19-year-old Humboldt State University sophomore, wept in the hallway afterward.

Reinholtsen offered a lengthy explanation of his ruling and the deficiencies in the prosecutors' case against Zoellner, saying there wasn’t a single witness that put a knife in Zoellner’s hands that night, much less who claimed to have seen the fatal stabbing. And at this early juncture — just a few weeks after the killing — there is no physical evidence connecting the defendant to the 10-inch kitchen knife found at the crime scene or the killing, Reinholtsen said.

“We know (Lawson) was killed, we know he was killed by a knife and we know somebody at the party did it, but I don’t think at this point we have sufficient reason to think the defendant did it,” Reinholtsen said.

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