Ryan McCollum Sr. had proposed to his longtime girlfriend and mother of his infant son just hours before a driver — allegedly drunk — slammed into their car in Tickfaw on Christmas Eve, killing his 19-year-old fiancee and their 7-month-old son.
McCollum said he, fiancee Shelly Mulkey and their son, Ryan McCollum Jr., were on their way home from a Christmas party at his relatives’ house in Loranger when their car was rear-ended by a vehicle that Louisiana State Police say was operated by a drunken driver fleeing an earlier crash.
The impact caused the gas tank of the young family’s 2005 Dodge Stratus to rupture and ignite both vehicles, state police said.
The alleged drunk driver, 36-year-old Jillian Pamela Ramsey, of Loranger, was booked in Tangipahoa Parish Jail on two counts of vehicular homicide, as well as hit-and-run and careless operation.
McCollum said he and Mulkey had been dating for about four years. He decided as a Christmas Eve present to her that he would propose.
“I got a ring out and asked her to marry me. I got on one knee,” McCollum recalled.
She said yes.
The couple also had learned over the weekend that Mulkey was pregnant with their second child, he said.
Ramsey suffered only minor injuries, according to state police. Troopers determined she was impaired at the time of the crash.
Mulkey’s father, Billy Mulkey, said the other driver should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“That’s three lives she took from me,” he said.
Nevertheless, he also feels sorry for Ramsey.
“That woman is going to have to live with that the rest of her life.”
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