• Man accused of causing deadly crash already bonds out of jail

    By: Tina Terry

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - One man is dead and another is facing charges after a wreck Monday morning on the Interstate 485 outer ramp at North Tryon Street, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officials said.

    Authorities said an officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a gold Hyundai Genesis, driven by Julius Brandon Lawson, which was speeding on University City Boulevard.

    Lawson did not stop though, and the officer turned off their emergency equipment and did not pursue the vehicle, according to CMPD. 

    Police said Lawson ran a red light on the ramp and struck a Stanley Steemer Ford Econoline van, causing it to overturn on North Tryon Street.

    Matthew Thomas Schwatka was ejected from the van and died at the scene, officials said. Schwatka lived in Gastonia, but his family is from Vancouver.

    Schwatka was at work riding in the Stanley Steemer van.

    Friends and family members said they're still coming to grips with his death.

    “I was kind of shocked, you know?” friend Mark Conklin said on the phone.

    Schwatka moved to Charlotte eight years ago.

    “He loved NASCAR, so he was pursuing that, or wanted to be in the atmosphere of NASCAR,” cousin Chad Schwatka said.

    The president of Stanley Steemer sent a statement saying Schwatka was an excellent employee and was about to celebrate five years with the company.

    Conklin said Schwatka was living out of his car and working hard to send money home to help his sick mother with medical expenses.

    “She was ill and he said that that's basically how he had to live,” Conklin said.

    Alcohol was not a factor, but speed and a red-light violation were contributing factors in the collision, investigators said.

    Julius Lawson

    Lawson was charged with involuntary manslaughter and driving while license revoked and was arrested.

    Channel 9 learned Tuesday that Lawson had already bonded out of jail.

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