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‘My husband is in heaven’: Family remembers man killed in crash that involved drugged suspect driving 145 mph

Police said the driver who hit Dion Kelly was traveling 145 mph seconds before he plowed into Dion’s car, causing him to lose control, roll over, and hit a pole.

PHOENIX — It was a "blessed" morning. Dion and Laura Kelly gave each other their morning kiss, got each other coffee, and between jokes and laughs, talked about what they wanted to have for dinner after work on Wednesday. 

It was their normal routine. One they developed after almost 43 years of marriage.

“He is my high school sweetheart, my soulmate… we were made for each other,” said Laura. “He thought of me first, and I thought of him first.”

They each headed off to work. But hours later Laura said she got a weird feeling, then she got a call.

“I had an overwhelming peace, I knew that I needed to come home and I knew that the news was not what I wanted to hear,” she added.

Her instinct was tragically correct. Dion had been killed in a car accident near 37th and Grand Avenues at 11 a.m.

Phoenix police said the driver who hit Dion was traveling 145 miles per hour seconds before he plowed into Dion’s car, causing him to lose control, roll over, and hit a pole.

Dion was pronounced dead at the scene.

“I’m devastated, nothing I do is going to bring him back,” said Laura. “I’m going to be okay, and he knew that because I have my faith and family.”

Dion is remembered as a loving and caring person, but also one that was a "smart aleck" who liked to tease and get a good laugh, his wife said.

He worked for SRP and he was on the job when the accident happened, Laura said.

“I would say, ‘Honey, you’re such a good man and very loving’ and he would say ‘only to you, only to you,’ but he was great to everyone,” she added.

As Laura holds on to countless memories with her husband and the life they built, her heart is blanketed by peace, she said, because the father of her two children had strong faith.

“I know he didn’t suffer, and I know that my husband is in heaven,” Laura said. “I’m crying and that’s okay, I will be okay, I have no guilt, we weren’t fighting or had anything that was negative.”

What we know about the suspect

Authorities arrested Richard Anderson, 20, after they said he admitted he drove way over the speed limit and smoked a vaped pen with THC three to four hours before the crash.

Phoenix police officers were working traffic enforcement and were stopped along the side of Grand Avenue when they saw Anderson driving by.

Court records reveal an officer used his radar unit and registered Anderson’s vehicle going 145 miles per hour. After a second speed check, his radar showed 145 mph again.

During a post-Miranda interview, the suspect said he knew he was going 130 miles per hour at the time of the accident because he glanced at his speedometer seconds prior to the collision, court records said.

Investigators said Anderson told them he drove 100 miles per hour occasionally when in traffic on the freeways within the valley.

Police records suggest Anderson was having stability issues with his BMW and allegedly told officers he had completed mechanical work on the vehicle the morning of the accident.

The suspect said he was speeding because he was checking the work that had been done, authorities said.

During a search, officers found a vape pen in Anderson’s pocket with a green liquid substance in it. When asked what it was, investigators said he told them it was THC.

Police say Anderson was under the influence of cannabis and wasn’t able to operate a vehicle safely.

Court records said an instant urine test kit came back positive for THC in Anderson’s urine.

Anderson has been charged with second-degree murder and two counts of endangerment.

Remembering a father and husband

There will be a celebration of life for Dion Kelly on Saturday, Feb. 5 at 3 p.m. at Laveen Baptist Church.

He leaves two kids behind.


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