Keith Bell, 31, remembered for impacting his community as an author

Posted at 4:44 PM, Sep 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-24 19:20:09-04

GALLATIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — Middle Tennesseans are remembering a local author killed in a hit-and-run incident in Gallatin Monday.

Keith Bell, 31, of Gallatin was walking along Joslin Street when police said he was struck by a vehicle. The driver, 28-year-old, Dwain Mitchell Patton, was located a short distance away from the scene. Police said Patton was arrested and charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and leaving the scene with serious bodily injury.

On Tuesday, a friend of Bell's said the Nashville native's death was a huge loss for the community.

"I just want the people of Nashville to understand the importance of losing great men like him and the importance of us coming together to support his whole family. He exemplified and reflected what it is to be a redeemed black man, what it is to be a great father, a great husband and just a great brother in general," Hambino Godbody said.

Bell, who was formerly incarcerated, was known for turning his life around. He wrote at least three books.

Bell first started writing in 2007. His first book, The Longest Drought Ever, was about four childhood friends that grew up in an environment where having a father figure around was like hitting the lottery.

While he was incarcerated in 2011, his passion grew and turned into a desire to create stories that served as an escape from the stress of daily events.

"He was good for the culture he was necessary. He showed us that we can make money without selling drugs because the thing he did was selling books. He took it to the next level. He was booking out malls. He set the blueprint if you were an up and coming writer, he showed you how to make money independently with your own grind which he was doing from city to city and state to state," Godbody said.

Bell leaves behind a wife and two children. Bell was born in Nashville on February 6, 1988 to Kerry L. Bell and Willie McLeod, along with two other siblings. He lost his mother May of 2013 while incarcerated and working on “The Longest Drought Ever.”