THIS is the young Northern Ireland man who went to New York to work only to be killed by a hit-and-run driver.
And locals in The Bronx district were furious when the remains of Newry soccer player Kevin Bell was then stuffed into the back of a city Medical Examiner’s Office van — next to bags of recyclable bottles.
A two-man team were seen shoving aside the brimming sacks of trash to make room for Kevin Bell’s body.
Cops held up a white sheet to block his remains from view of the public.
But Medical Examiner officials were at a loss to explain to why the 26-year-old’s body was stuffed next to the bags.
“We’re taking this incident very seriously, and we are actively investigating it at this time,” said ME spokeswoman Ellen Borakove.
Kevin Bell’s shattered friends said the treatment of his crushed body was unconscionable.
“I can’t begin to think of how the suffering must be for his parents at the moment,” said pal Joe Crilly, 55.
Marielly Ramos, 33, who was driving on East 233rd near Oneida Avenue where Bell was struck, pulled over in a futile bid to save him.
She said: “I’m just so disgusted right now. I don’t understand people.
“I’m the only one who stopped the car to run to him. People were just driving by,’’ she said. “And they throw him in a car full of garbage? It’s upsetting. He’s somebody’s child. You wouldn’t even do that to an animal.’’
Kevin Bell had been drinking with pals on the Upper East Side before returning to his Woodlawn neighborhood alone at around 3:30 am on Sunday morning.
The construction worker was stumbling before he inexplicably lay down in the middle of the darkened road — near the Tombstone Saloon and Woodlawn Cemetery — and was crushed by at least one car, witnesses said.
“I’m like, ‘What is he doing? . . . Someone is going to drive over him,’ and I realize I have to hurry,” Ramos recalled.
“I put on my hazards and pull over and start running toward him and saying, ‘Hey! Hey!’ In a matter of seconds, he was hit.
“It was a gray sedan. By the time I got there, there was blood dripping down the side of his face.
“I was crying and crying,’’ Ramos said, “And people were looking at me and said, ‘Did you know him?’ I said, ‘Do I have to know him to care? ’
“Whoever ran over him probably didn’t see him.’’
SDLP MLA for Newry and Mourne Dominic Bradley visited the 26-year-old victim’s grieving family on Sunday afternoon.
“Kevin had a bright future and was a very talented young man,” said the MLA.
“He was an excellent Irish dancer and he was well known throughout the Newry area and very well liked and respected as well. It is a great loss to his family.”
The family have asked for their privacy to be respected at this time.