A mother’s view: Smoking K2 became fatal error for son

The following article was published in the Duluth News Tribune on August 29,2010 and with the author’s permission we are republishing it here.

Duluth, please ban the synthetic THC substance found in K2, Spice, California Dream and other marijuana-mimicking products.

On May 15, my son, Charlie Davel, smoked K2 and within hours died after leading police on a high-speed chase, turning the wrong way onto a freeway and hitting a parked tow truck. His vehicle was traveling faster than 100 mph.

This was not my son in his right mind.

He had many things going for him. He was a devout Christian and a star wrestler in high school. He was college-bound, had just bought a fishing license and so much more.

We, his friends and family, believe K2 was the major factor that caused him to act irrationally, costing him his life.

The officer investigating Charlie’s death, Detective Jay Dunston of Waukesha County, told us about K2 several days after Charlie’s death. I had never heard of it. The officer learned Charlie had used it after conducting interviews with those who had spent time with Charlie in the hours before his death.

Charlie is far from the only person victimized by this substance. In early June 2010, David Rozga of Indianola, Iowa, smoked K2 and then went home and shot himself. I have been in contact with David’s parents. I also have been in contact with the mother of a young man in Hastings, Minn., hospitalized after smoking K2. Just a few weeks ago, the state of Indiana began to announce documented injuries with K2. More recently, I read of Derek McQueen, who smoked K2 and tried to slit his throat. I am attempting to have contact with him. The son of Rick Bell and Cheryl Berg of the Eau Claire, Wis., area, smoked K2 and has been hospitalized for more than two months. Their stories are featured elsewhere on this page.

I have several friends in ER nursing. They say more and more young people are coming into the emergency room with the severe effects of K2 and similar products. Earlier this spring they had patients who came in, and the medical staff had no idea what they had taken.

When Charlie died, only two states had made these substances illegal. Today there are at least eight.

This stuff is poison! It is unregulated, and you never know how potent a batch will be.

Taxpayers will have to pay lots of unnecessary money if this substance is not made illegal. My son’s ambulance bill alone was nearly $2,000. His emergency room visit, to say he was dead, was more than $5,000. As a 19-year-old adult, he was responsible for the bill. The financial department of the hospital called and left a message for him to say so. (Gosh, don’t they talk to each other there?)

I have heard the officer who chased Charlie was assigned administrative duty for awhile as a result. That means he’s not out fighting crime. How much does that cost? I am guessing he also will receive post-traumatic counseling.

The Sheriff’s Department closed the freeway for four hours after Charlie’s crash. The Highway Department spent hours cleaning up the site. This included picking up pieces of automobile and cleaning flesh, blood and a variety of fluids. I have no idea the financial burden of the county for this. Not to mention the emotional trauma of everyone involved. If I were a highway worker, I would rather plow snow and fix roads than clean up a horrific accident scene in the middle of the night.

The state Department of Transportation must have been involved, too. It sent Charlie a letter a week after the accident to say his license was suspended. I think the letter said the suspension was because he was driving way too fast. (Gosh, doesn’t anyone communicate?)

The city of Duluth will make the right decision when it bans the sale, possession and use of this poison. We won’t know how many lives such an action will save. We won’t know how much emotional pain, agony and heartache will be prevented. We won’t know how much taxpayer money will be saved. But we do know that if this product continues to be legally available, more will die, more will hurt and more will pay.

Teens and young adults often participate in risky behavior. My son was no exception. About once or twice a year, it seemed, he did something without thinking it through. This time, it cost him his life. And every day I ask myself, “Why?”

Maybe so his story will save others.

Bonnie Davel lives in Waukesha, Wis.


10 Responses to “A mother’s view: Smoking K2 became fatal error for son”

  1. 1 upload photo free September 1, 2010 at 10:46 pm

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  2. 2 college grants September 14, 2010 at 6:57 pm

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  3. 3 ultrasound technician September 21, 2010 at 3:19 am

    Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

    • 4 Love Freedom October 12, 2010 at 5:12 pm


      I am so sorry for your loss and cannot even begin to comprehend the agony of what you’ve had to endure. My prayers are with you.

      I can understand in such a situation how it’s natural to try and find a reason… or more specifically, someone or something to blame.

      I post this only to present the picture from a different angle. It’s easy for us to sympathize with your situation and jump on board voicing our anger at anyone or anything who may have been responsible for your tragedy.

      In reality, however, we are at the same time, freedom loving Americans. We must be very careful of what we encourage or allow government to control in our lives.

      What if it had been found that Charlie had drank some coffee prior to the incident? Coffee would be much more likely to create the situation you’ve described. THC, or JWH-018 (active substance in K2/spice/herbal incense) tend to dramatically “mellow” someone’s mood, creating a calming effect very opposite of what you’ve described.

      There is no scientific evidence available anywhere that can even begin to suggest that JWH-018 has any potential to cause short or long term harm of any kind.

      The substance affects the body’s chemistry and thus alters a person’s “state”, yes. But so does coffee. And alcohol. And the air we breathe. And cigarettes. And each and every food we ingest. And the drugs and over the counter remedies we take. We are affecting our body chemistry every moment of every day, and we all make personal choices within this realm.

      In fact, many legal substances available to us are unquestionably proven to be poisons. Nobody even hides it anymore. They just slap a warning up on it… “this product can kill you.” Turn the TV on for an hour and pay attention as you watch a huge majority of the advertising is for drugs. Legal drugs. And they spend 45 out of the 60 seconds telling you all the things you shouldn’t do while on that drug and all the horrible things it can and will do to you… half the time including unimaginable atrocities up to and including coma and death. Yet somehow people still feel it’s ok to push these drugs, and kill people. After all, it’s America and that should be our choice, right? Anything that doesn’t hurt someone else or their property should be ok. That’s what America was founded on.

      If we being outlawing everything that happens prior to some horrible event, we will soon allow ourselves no freedoms whatsoever. I’d say we couldn’t even get out of bed for fear of breaking some law, but surely even the bed would be banned, as some people slept or had a hard time sleeping on beds prior to making a bad decision. Heck, people have probably been killed on or with the assistance of beds, too.

      Again, truly, my heart goes out to you for your loss. But common sense tells me that Charlie’s decisions had nothing whatsoever to do with the herbal incense he chose to ingest hours prior to the incident. For one, despite claims from some manufacturers, the effects simply do not last for hours. Secondly, the effects of the substance calm and mellow a person. It is very different than something like alcohol… a far more dangerous choice, easily proven many times over many years. Somehow, we still want that choice available to us, right? We can use it responsibly, yeah? Shouldn’t that be okay as long as I don’t drive while impaired and threaten or cause harm to someone else or their property?

      In a land built on the idea of freedom, we are living through a time where that freedom is openly being taken away, threatened, and the very foundation of our nation is under full scale attack.

      The Socialist regime attempting to overthrow our country loves nothing more than a disaster of any sort, on which they can capitalize. It creates fear, anger, etc… allowing the government to take more freedoms away and implement even more power, in the name of protection or safety, and while duped citizens actually appreciate what they ‘think’ is happening.

      Let us not help them. Let us see your tragedy for what it is. A horrible, unfortunate accident. I am so sorry. My prayers are with you. But herbal incense did NOT kill Charlie.

      God Bless

  4. 5 Christopher Frank September 29, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    How can you be so quick to blindly label K2 as the cause of your sons death? Did you requested a full toxicology report postmortem to verify this ‘claim’? All I’m seeing is an invalidated excuse to bash yet again another safe alternative to cannabis.

    I feel sorry for your loss, but take this information to a psychologist or someone specializing in mind-altering substances to verify this claim.

  5. 6 Ned Flanders October 19, 2010 at 2:48 am

    First off, I am deeply sorry for this mothers loss. Though his death is tragic, it’s not the fault of drugs. Its the result of him fleeing from the police. This drug, JWB-018….isnt as bad as people make it out to be. I have smoked it many times ..and yes i have felt my HR go up a bit, but never had i felt like driving on the wrong side of the road nor have I felt the need to blow my brains out. These kidns were troubled to begin with. Parents not taking responcability for their children’s actions has got to stop. Yeah its a strong drug …ill say that. But when you start drinking you dont go for the hard stuff the first time do you ? No, why ? cause thats ignorant. That whole letter is a crock of shit blaming everything on K2 ….what a real nice way to cover up the real issues.

  6. 7 Concerned Mother November 22, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    I was just browsing and stumbled up on your blog. Very informative! I am going to print it out and show it to my son and daughter who are both going down a horrible path. My daughter is 18 and just withdrew herself from college, where I might add she had a full ride for their Pharmacy program. I have had trouble with her since her freshman year of high school when she made a new ‘friend’ who has led her down a path of drugs, alcohol and sex. She managed to graduate with honors (barely) but has still maintained this friendship with these people. They have her smoking pot to calm her nerves and taking aderol (sp?) to help her stay awake for days at a time. I (along with my family) am heartbroken over all of this. She is down to 98lbs. Her Dad (whom I have been divorced from for years) is addicted to prescription pain meds and has enabled his oldest daughter from a previous marriage with the same. She just passed away of a drug overdose 3 weeks ago at the age of 30.
    The reason I found your blog is because I was researching k2. My son, who is 17, had made some new friends and had begun to smoke pot. I drug tested him at home and said that I would continue to do so because I do not want him heading down that co-dependent path. Well, someone turned him on to k2 because they said it will not show up on a drug test. My question to you, as someone with knowledge of this, do you know if that is true? I am scared to death for him! As a single parent, I am researching as much as I can and praying fervently that the Lord will protect my kids and lead them away from the lifestyle that they are trying to live! There really needs to be more information and more support groups out there with the tools to help parents like us protect our kids from themselves.

  7. 9 concerned girlfriend January 31, 2011 at 1:26 am

    I read your blog about the effects of K2 and other such substances. My boyfriend recently got out of the military he was medically retired. he had be smoking the substances on occasion before he got out but only a few weekends. Once out he started smoking it very regularly like almost every day and sometimes several times a day. He also stopped taking his prescribed antidepressants. He stopped cleaning up after himself and would leave food lying all over the house spill beer and energy drinks all over the floor and not clean it up. started to become very paranoid and clainm that people were breaking into my home and spying on me. He accused me of having recorders on me to turn into the CIA. I have delt with a lot since he got out. I dunno if it is the depression or a combination of using the Spice that has caused him to act this way. He has also became very angry easily and went off on me for asking him to clean up his own messes. He currently is not working and his patience has dwindled down to nothing. When I met him about 6 months ago he was the greatest thing that had ever happened to me. He took care of himself and had big plans for his future. He is clearly not the same man I came to love. Last week was the breaking point. I got fed up with his messes and he had clothes all over my floor. I took his cookies he had baked earlier after yelling about no food being in the house and said he was going to eat cookies for lunch but he never put them away. I put the whole pan on top the dirty clothes when he saw it he got outraged and called me a disgusting fucking pig and threw the pan at me. I told him I was going to call the police and he grabbed me and restrained me. He would not let go. I tried to get my phone out of my pocket and when it slipped out it was bumped out of my reach. I had to bite him to make him let go. when i grabbed for my phone he snatched it and broke it in half. I ran out the door and across the street and called the police. He was aressted and made bail a few days later. he came to my door begging me to let him in crying and apologising. I called the police and they took him back to jail. He never acted like this before. I have been looking all over the internet to see if this stuff causes people to act more aggressive as i said he wasnt like this before. I have read about it causing people to have trouble sleeping which is also something that he has not been doing lately. he will stay up days on end and the less sleep he gets the worse he acts. He yelled at me a few weeks ago because he wrecked his car and I wouldnt take him to taco bell at 1 am. I cooked dinner earlier that night and he wouldnt eat it. so then when he was hungry he called me a stupid whore and a dumb bitch and a series of other names for not getting out of bed to take him to taco bell. Children dont act that bad. Im pregnant with his child and i am scared. I want the guy back i came to love not this monster. I want to know if other people have seen such drastic mood changes from their friends and family using this substance.

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