TICKFAW, La. -- Ryan McCollum Sr. can't believe he got out alive.
But McCollum, though severely bruised, burned and still in the hospital, can barely see past the devastation of losing his whole world in a Christmas Eve car crash -- 7-month-old Ryan McCollum, Jr. and 19-year-old Shelly Mulkey, who was two months pregnant and had just hours earlier said yes to his marriage proposal.
"I don't remember going in the store to get the cigarettes. I don't remember nothing after that," he said. "All I remember is waking up in here and kept asking where my babies at? Where's Shelly and my babies? They wouldn't say nothing until my mom got here. That's all I kept asking, where's my two babies. I miss them so much."
"There's nothing you can do," said McCollum's mother Debbie, "I wish I could take his pain from him."
Louisiana State Police troopers say the family had just pulled out of a convenience store at the corner of Highways 1064 and 1065 in the Natalbany area when 36-year-old Jillian Ramsay slammed into the back of them at a high rate of speed. The impact caused McCollum's car to burst into flames.
Good Samaritans were able to pull McCollum and Mulkey out of the car, but couldn't help the baby. Mulkey and "Junior" were pronounced dead at the scene, while Ramsay walked away from the crash with minor injuries before being arrested. Troopers say Ramsay was impaired and running from an earlier crash when she hit McCollum's car.
"She don't deserve freedom," said Mulkey's mother Rochelle. "I don't have my babies anymore. They need to crack the law down on this. I was told 20 years. What is 20 years?"
Loved ones are also pleading with the public to recognize that the value of life is priceless.
"It could be yours at any time. You're only given a short time on earth. Enjoy it for what you can get," said Mulkey's father, Billy, "But don't get out there and get drunk and take somebody's life away from them."
If you're interested in helping the family cover the cost of services, which are scheduled for this Saturday, you can contact Harry McKneely and Son Funeral Home in Hammond.
Ramsay remains in the Tangipahoa Parish Jail on charges of vehicular homicide, hit and run and careless operation. Her bond is more than $250,000.
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