Crash survivor describes what happened, why it took 3 days to get help

Man trapped in crash that killed girlfriend was not supposed to be driving
Published: Sep. 23, 2016 at 7:00 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 24, 2016 at 2:25 AM EDT
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The vehicle Kevin Bell was trapped in for three days. (Source: Indiana State Police)
The vehicle Kevin Bell was trapped in for three days. (Source: Indiana State Police)

JENNINGS COUNTY, IN (WAVE) – The man behind the wheel in a crash that killed his girlfriend is sharing his side of the story.

Kevin Bell survived the wreck while Nikki Reed died, but said he wasn't able to get to safety for three days. He remains hospitalized in Indianapolis with a serious leg injury. WAVE 3 News talked to him by phone Friday.

Bell said he was not speeding and wasn't under the influence of any kind at the time of the crash. He said it was a tragic accident and he is heartbroken. However Bell wasn't even supposed to be driving in the first place and, according to court documents obtained by WAVE 3 News, this isn't the first time Bell has been involved in a serious car crash.

Reed's family and friends say they have some serious questions about what happened.

THE 39-year-old met Reed, 37, online back in May. On Sept. 16, Reed, a mother of three, went to pick up Bell at his home in Pennsylvania to bring him back to Seymour, Ind. for her son's birthday party the next day.

"She told me, 'Since I drove out here Friday, you can drive back Saturday,'" Bell said.

The two never made it, though.

Bell said he was apprehensive because his driver's license was expired. However he was driving Reed's Ford Explorer while the couple was on U.S. 50 in Jennings County when, Bell said, Reed showed him a picture on her phone.

"I took my eyes off the road and after that, that incident happened," he said.

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Bell lost control of the SUV and slammed into a tree not visible from the road in Jennings County. The vehicle plummeted down a ravine and slammed into a tree 100 feet below.

Police said Reed, who Bell said wasn't wearing a seat belt, was killed instantly. Bell was injured and said he wasn't able to get help until three days later after crawling up the hill.

"I was in tears Saturday and Sunday," Bell said. "I wasn't going to attempt to get out of the truck because I was too shook up and plus I was in so much pain, so I stayed in the truck."

Both Reed and Bell had cell phones in the car.

"Her phone was going off all day Saturday and I didn't know where hers was either," Bell said. "I heard them, but I didn't know where they were."

He said on Sunday he managed to get to the back seat, where he found a small amount of water and a Gatorade.

"I just camped out in the truck until Tuesday," Bell said.

He said he found his phone and texted a co-worker that he was in a car accident and then attempted to call for help.

"When I went to dial 911, it died," Bell said.

That's when he said he grabbed his stuff, including a bag with two bowling balls, and headed for U.S. 50.

"I crawled like every five feet, I took a break to rest my leg," Bell said, adding that he eventually made it to the guardrail and tried to get someone to stop.

"Everybody ignored me the whole entire time for an hour and a half," Bell said.

Just after 5 p.m., a passerby finally pulled over and called 911.

"You fell and broke your shin and that's why you are sitting here because you can't move anywhere?" the passerby can be heard asking Bell while on the phone with the 911 operator.

Bell said he didn't mention the crash because he wanted to wait until officers arrived.

Indiana State Police said they later realized there was a newly-issued warrant for Bell's arrest out of Pennsylvania for not appearing in court. WAVE 3 News discovered that stemmed back to a harassment charge.

"I completely forgot about that," Bell said.

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WAVE 3 News asked Bell if he was coming to Indiana to avoid that charge.

"Oh no, no, no," Bell said. "I would never avoid anything like that."

VIDEO: Watch Katie Bauer's report

In 2007, however, Bell hit a motorcyclist in Pennsylvania and did not report it to police, according to court documents obtained by WAVE 3 News. That man eventually died from his injuries and Bell was sent to prison. He was released after five months on good behavior.

"I did my time and paid my fines," he said. "That was a hit and run and I did my time."

At this time, the ISP said Bell is not facing any charges in the crash. Investigators do want to make sure that he reported it as soon as he possibly could, though. Bell is expected to be released from the hospital soon.

Bell said he just wants Reed's children to know how much he cared for her.

"Oh, I loved her," he said.

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