Ryan Joseph McCollum Sr. and his girlfriend, Shelly Mulkey, had been dating for four years, when McCollum decided to make this holiday season extra special.
According to The Advocate, while McCollum, Mulkey, and their 7-month-old son were enjoying a relatives’ Christmas Eve party, he popped the question. And he made sure to do it in the traditional way:
“I got a ring out and asked her to marry me. I got on one knee.”
It only added to the couple’s festive mood, The Advocate reported:
The couple also had learned over the weekend that Mulkey was pregnant with their second child.
A few hours later, they got in the car and headed home.
But their magical evening took a tragic turn, when someone fleeing the scene of an earlier accident crashed into them.
The Advocate reported that Jillian Pamela Ramsay ran into the back of the couple’s 2005 Dodge Stratus, crushing it. The car dove into a ditch, the gas tank ruptured. Both vehicles went up in flames.
Ramsay, whom authorities suspect was driving drunk, was left only with only minor injuries.
Witness managed to drag both McCollum and Mulkey from the car, but their infant son, Ryan, never made it out. The 19-year-old mother and her unborn baby were both killed, while the father survived.
Witness Kasey Craig told WVUE:
“It sounded almost like a bomb or something. The whole trailer shook. We came out here and there was these tire tracks right here and where you see that it was just fire. I ran into Hopping Harley’s to get a fire extinguisher and I tried to get the fire extinguisher to him as quick as I could. The firefighters they were doing their best but we just couldn’t get to them.”
A week before McCollum’s proposal, he spoke to his soon-to-be bride’s father to ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Now, her father, Billy Mulkey, will be planning her funeral instead of looking forward to a wedding.
He told The Advocate he wants the drunk driver who killed his loved ones punished:
“That’s three lives she took from me.”
But at the same time, Billy Mulkey feels for Ramsay:
“That woman is going to have to live with that the rest of her life.”
The 36-year-old Ramsay was arrested and faces two counts of vehicular homicide, hit-and-run, and careless operation.
According to WGNO, Louisiana State Police wrote in a news release:
Tragically, two completely preventable factors led to this horrific crash. The on-scene supervisor and crash scene investigators determined alcohol impairment and speed were the primary elements that led to this crash. The poor decisions/criminal actions of one person has led to devastating consequences for everyone involved.
According to ScramSystems, everyone should be extra careful on the roadways this time of year. There’s a drastic jump in drunk driving incidents during the holidays. It reported that:
- Two to three times more people will die in alcohol-related crashes.
- 40 percent of traffic fatalities involve a driver impaired by alcohol.
- 1,200 people will be killed and 25,000 people will be injured between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
- 728 people will be killed or injured each day by DUIs this holiday season.
Watch a report on the accident below, via WVUE