Family mourns death of woman, hit and run

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A local family is in mourning tonight, after a hit-and-run driver killed 41-year old Nicole Stewart. (KFSN)

A local family is in mourning tonight after a hit-and-run driver killed 41-year-old Nicole Stewart.

"I can understand an accident but she was murdered, she was run down in the street like a dog," said Alicia White.

The mother of Stewart says her daughter has been walking to and from Butler Church in Southeast Fresno for seven years -- a routine walk that ended in tragedy Wednesday night.

"I want to be with her right now, that's my rock, that's my life that's my daughter-- that's my only child I don't have any more kids," said White.

White says she was on the phone with her daughter when she was killed. She says Stewart called her right after she left the church, and was going to walk to the store to grab some snacks before they watched TV together -- when all of a sudden the line went dead.

White says she knew something was wrong. She kept trying to call Stewart as she left the house and traced the steps Stewart would usually take to and from church-that is when she saw police officers at the blocked off intersection of Winery and Butler, then she spotted her daughter's belongings lying in the street.

"When I got there, I seen all the police out there helicopters and all her bible and phone was just in the street shredded, her bible was shredded her scarf on her head over here the phone over there."

Police later found and arrested the man they believe is responsible for Stewart's death. They have identified him as 50-year-old Fermin Castellanos. He is facing charges of fleeing the scene of a collision involving injury, and for vehicular manslaughter.

"I'd just like people to know my niece was a lovely person-- she didn't deserve to be hit by a car and for that person to keep going," said Phillip Garrett, uncle.

Stewart's mother hopes her daughter's tragic story will be a lesson to other drivers to be more careful and watch out for pedestrians.

"I can't bring her back, but right now. I just want to be with her. She can't come to me-- I want to go to her, that's how I feel. I don't even want to be here no more," said White.
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hit and runhit and run accidentFresno
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