Friends plead for change after deadly crash

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Kelly Noel, 33, was trying to cross the road near East 8th Street and the Interstate 35 frontage road when police say a driver hit him.

Investigators say Wade Atwood admitted he had been drinking and police said his blood-alcohol level was just over the legal limit. He was arrested on scene and has since been released from jail.

Moments after the first crash, police say another suspected drunk driver tried to drive his car through the crime scene and officers had to jump back to avoid getting hit. Police arrested that driver, Ramiro Sosa, and charged him with driving while intoxicated.

Noel was well known by many in the community and some of his friends say more needs to be done to keep drunk drivers off the road.

Most who knew Noel said it was hard to find someone more against drinking and driving than he was.

“He’d take your keys away and be like ‘you shouldn’t be driving…just come crash at my pad,'” said Dena Greenwalt who has known Noel since 2007. “Even if you need a couple of hours…he’ll even take the couch and give you the bed.”

That’s just the kind of guy friends say he was.

Greenwalt was at home watching a movie when she heard the news. “I have a lot of friends who haven’t been able to hold it together. Friends who haven’t put two-and -two together, and realize they’re not going to see him again.”

Close friends say Noel was very involved in Austin music and entertainment. He ran a twitter account, ATXHipsters, which has more than 18,000 followers. He also worked as a coder for Dell.

“We were going to go grab coffee and hang out this week,” said Chris Lynn, “and those plans aren’t going to happen.”

Lynn still can’t believe his friend, who moved downtown specifically so people would have a safe place to go after the bars, was killed by someone police say was drinking and driving.

Some say if this isn’t a clear sign more needs to be done to protect innocent people, they don’t know what is.

“What needs to change in the city to get people not to do these types of things?” Greenwalt said.

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