MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Investigators made an arrest in an unsolved hit-and-run that happened two years ago in Midtown Memphis.
Christopher Phillips, 32, was killed by a car on February 22, 2017, as he crossed Madison Avenue in Overton Square.
The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office confirmed that 34-year-old Joanna Goodfellow was arrested Wednesday, July 31, on multiple charges including aggravated assault, leaving the scene of an accident involving death, tampering with evidence and reckless driving.
Goodfellow, the daughter of local car dealer Mark Goodfellow, was indicted in the case in October of 2018.
Phillips family declined comment about the arrest, referring WMC Action News 5 to their attorney, Jody Neyman.
"Well, they’re just relieved the charges have been filed, " said Neyman. “This whole matter has been a huge burden on them, as you would expect. It’s been over two years.”
Just three months after the deadly accident, Joanna Goodfellow, suffering from kidney failure, posted a video to YouTube telling viewers, “Mentally, you’re like, ‘what?’ And it’s like the world stops and all you can think about is why me? Why? Why? Why? It was so crazy.”
She went on to say in the video that her diagnosis “is something I now have to live with.” She eventually received a kidney transplant not long after that May 2017 video was posted.
Phillips’ family during that time prayed for justice and held a candlelight ceremony in his honor at the spot where he lost his life.
His mother, Lauri, devoted her energy to organizing a benefit concert attended by Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland to raise money to install a crosswalk at the intersection where her son died.
"For me," she told WMC Action News 5 in 2018, "it's probably been a lifesaver."
Lauri and her husband also hired attorneys to file a civil lawsuit in their son’s unsolved hit-and-run.
“They were extremely frustrated with the amount of time it took to get the matter rolling,” said attorney Neyman. “So we filed a civil lawsuit to help prompt the ongoing criminal investigation.”
The civil suit claimed that Joanna Goodfellow was the driver of the silver car seen on surveillance video that witnesses say hit Phillips and that she was in no condition to be behind the wheel. The lawsuit also alleges Joanna, her twin brother Jonathan and several other defendants “conspired to conceal, hide and ultimately destroy the vehicle” at a family-owned car lot.
When asked to comment on his daughter’s arrest, Mark Goodfellow issued the following statement:
“Due to the tragic circumstances that occurred with Christopher Phillips, I want to extend my sincere empathy and sorrow with the family and anyone that was affected. My words could never be enough to make this situation any better, but I want to just let it be known that this is deeply weighing on my heart. When I lost my mother, I was in a state of shock and felt nothing but emptiness, so I know it is difficult to lose a loved one. I pray for all parties involved, and whatever the outcome may be, hearts are weightless and concerns are answered.”
His daughter posted bond late Wednesday. Her arrest comes the same week Christopher Phillips would have celebrated his 35th birthday.
"Friends and family have just asked us to tell everyone that they hope this will begin the process for justice for Christopher, " said attorney Neyman. “And that the burden that they’ve been carry will soon be lifted.”