Teens arrested in fatal hit and run

May 13, 2010 4:38:12 PM PDT
North Carolina Highway Patrol officers arrested two teenagers after a fatal hit and run accident Wednesday morning.

The crash happened in southern Wake County near the border with Johnston County at Barbour Store and Old Stage roads around 10 a.m.

Pictures from Chopper 11 HD showed a blue tarp covering a Mazda Protegé with heavy damage and a Cadillac with a crumpled front end nearby.

Investigators say 16-year-old Coty Lee Thomas borrowed the Cadillac and was driving it south on Old Stage Road when he ran off the shoulder, crossed the center line and slammed into the Mazda driven by 41-year-old Tania Bell of Raleigh.

Witnesses said Bell's brother-in-law was in a car in front of her and saw the Cadillac swerving. When he went back to check on her, she was dead.

Bell was a very loving mother, according to her brother who says the family is too distraught to talk.

She was a graduate of Millbrook High School in Raleigh. Her oldest son is a student at NC State. She also has two younger sons, 7 and 11-years-old.

Investigators said 19-year-old John McKoy was following Thomas and stopped to pick him up after the crash. They were taken into custody Wednesday afternoon on Cindy Street in Angier.

Thomas has been charged with felony hit and run, misdemeanor death by vehicle, DWI, and not having a driver's license. He is in jail under a $40,000 bond. McKoy is also in jail under a $30,000 bond charged with aiding and abetteing a felony hit and run. Both men are still in the jail.

If convicted Thomas faces up to 50 months in prison. Troopers say they think he may have been doing drugs and are waiting for test results.

Thomas' stepfather confirmed to ABC11 Eyewitness News that he dropped out of Sanderson High School after he turned 16 last summer.

"He was trying to get himself back in order, you know," Thomas' stepfather Chris Pierce said. "He really was. He got a child on the way."

Pierce says Thomas wanted to go to school to be a chef.

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