Attorney: Charges filed in 2017 hit-and-run are not harsh enough

Attorney questions charges in deadly 2017 hit-and-run

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Questions remain about why a woman arrested two years after a deadly hit and run in midtown Memphis is not facing harsher charges.

34-year-old Joanna Goodfellow was arrested on Wednesday, charged in the death of Christopher Phillips.

The Shelby County District Attorney’s office declined WMC Action News 5′s interview request Thursday, saying they can’t comment on a pending case.

It comes as the attorney for the Phillips family wonders if the charges are tough enough.

After being indicted in October, Joanna Goodfellow, the daughter of area car dealer Mark Goodfellow, was jailed Wednesday and quickly posted bond. Goodfellow is charged in connection to the hit and run death of 32-year-old Christopher Phillips back in 2017.

The Phillips family found out about Goodfellow’s arrest Wednesday morning.

“They wished they would have been filed earlier, but they are thankful this occurred,” said Jody Neyman, attorney for the family.

The family advocated for change in the wake of Chris’s death, getting a crosswalk put in at the place where he was killed.

They also filed a civil lawsuit claiming Joanna Goodfellow was driving a silver car that hit Chris and was impaired at the time of the crash. The suit also said Joanna and family members “conspired to conceal and destroy the vehicle” – at one of the family’s car lots.

"They were extremely frustrated in the amount of time it took to get the matter rolling. We filed a civil suit to help prompt an ongoing criminal investigation, said Neyman.

Thursday the Shelby County DA’s office would not go into specifics about the case they’ve built against Goodfellow.

She faces five charges in all, in connection to the crash. Two are misdemeanors, reckless driving and driving with a suspended license. Three are felonies, including reckless aggravated assault, leaving the scene of an accident involving death, and tampering with or fabricating evidence.

WMC Action News 5 asked the family attorney if the potential punishment fits Goodfellow’s alleged crime.

“To be frank, no,” said Neyman, “Christopher was killed instantly. There’s always a possibility a charge can be amended at a later time.”

At last check a court date for Goodfellow has not been set. The family’s attorney said their civil lawsuit will be on hold as the criminal matter progresses.

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