Teetra Bell was walking to her car, which was parked across from her North Philadelphia home Saturday night, when an alleged drunk driver slammed into her, killing her.
"I was at home. I heard the noise, and I went out the door, and they [neighbors] said somebody got hit by a car," Bell's mother, Joyce Jefferson Bell, said Tuesday. She then realized it was her 37-year-old daughter who was struck on the 2700 block of West Sedgley Avenue, where they lived together.
Neighbors told the mother that one driver had stopped to allow Bell to cross, and that a second driver went around the first vehicle and hit Bell.
She "never made it," the mother said, her voice filled with emotion. "Her body suffered a lot of trauma and was mutilated."
Police said the suspected drunk driver, Michelle Fields, 30, of Elkins Park, was arrested immediately after the crash, shortly before 9:30 p.m. Fields' 2017 Kia Sorento hit Bell, throwing her body into a tree, then struck parked vehicles on the street and became disabled, Capt. Mark Overwise of the police Accident Investigation Division said.
Overwise said that just before the crash, the SUV was spotted by a patrol car running a red light at Dauphin Street and Sedgley. The officer tried to follow the SUV, but by the time the officer turned onto Sedgley, the SUV had already struck Bell and the parked vehicles, Overwise said.
Bell was pronounced dead by medics at the scene.
Her mother said she was a single mother to a 17-year-old girl and worked as a group-home caretaker with ChildFirst Services Inc., helping girls from broken homes with homework and preparing meals for them. A woman who answered the phone at ChildFirst Services confirmed that Bell worked for the agency.
"She loved her job," her mother said.
Fields was charged with homicide by vehicle while DUI, involuntary manslaughter, and related offenses. It was not immediately known if she had an attorney.