Woman killed in crash was on the way to son's birthday party

Man crawls onto roadway for help 3 days after deadly crash
Published: Sep. 22, 2016 at 3:00 AM EDT
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JENNINGS COUNTY, IN (WAVE) - A man survived a car crash that killed his girlfriend, but he isn't able to get help for three days.

Since Saturday, Nikki Reed's family and friends have been actively searching for her and her boyfriend, Kevin Bell, 39. It wasn't until Tuesday night they got the news they were dreading.

"Just praying that she didn't have to suffer and just praying that the kids can go and find peace," Reed's friend, Kristie Bevers, said.

Friends said Reed, 37, was on her way back to Seymour after driving to Pennsylvania to pick up Bell.

While en route on Saturday around noon, Reed talked to her daughter, anxious to get back to celebrate her 12-year-old's son's birthday.

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"The party was supposed to start between two and four and she had promised that she would be back in time," Bevers said.

Reed never made it. Family members filed a missing person's report and friends started doing all they could, knowing something had to be wrong.

"I called and called and called numerous places from Indiana to Pennsylvania hospitals," the victim's friend, Amanda Jones, said.

Bell's family was worried, too. It wasn't until Tuesday night that a passerby would spot Bell injured on the side of US 50 W in Jennings County near the Ripley County line. Indiana State Police Sgt. Stephen Wheeles said he crawled to safety.

"It took him some time to be able to get out of the vehicle," Wheeles said. "He was there in the vehicle for close to three days."

Police believe Bell was driving the 1999 Ford Explorer when he lost control of the car, went off the road and slide down a 100 foot embankment. The car slammed into a tree, killing Reed.

"I believe he was awake during that, that's got to be a traumatic experience for him going through something like this," Wheeles said.

The couple each had a cell phone, but it's unclear why Bell wasn't able to call for help. Bell suffered serious leg injuries and was extremely dehydrated when police arrived.

"Beyond that the investigation is ongoing, investigators will have to speak further with him, when he is able to, to determine what caused this and how this occurred," Wheeles said.

As friends grieve, they are remembering Reed as a wonderful mother.

"Her big heart, her smile. I'll miss just being able to talk to her," Jones said.

Family and friends have set up a memorial fund to collect for funeral expenses. 

Bell remains hospitalized, but is expected to recover.

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