The Merced man responsible for a traffic accident this past weekend that took the life of an 11-year-old Ceres girl said he is sorry and wants to pay his respects by attending her funeral services.
“I know I’d be the bad guy, obviously, but it’s something I would like to do,” Ronald Nole said. “I would like forgiveness.”
But the family of Milana Barragan is not ready for forgiveness.
Both families were on their way to celebrations Saturday when the collision occurred on Yosemite Boulevard in Empire.
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Nole, 57, was with his 13-year-old son, heading to Riverbank to celebrate his cousin’s second birthday, when he suffered a medical emergency associated with his Type I diabetes and lost consciousness at the wheel, he said.
Members of the Barragan family were in two cars on their way to a family reunion. They were stopped at a red light at Santa Fe Avenue when the car in the rear, driven by Milana’s mother, Rachel Barragan, was hit from behind by Nole’s truck at about 45 mph.
Nole said the first thing he remembers from the scene of the accident was waking up on the side of the road, where he was being tended to by a paramedic. On a tow truck, he saw the mangled car in which Milana had been a backseat passenger.
“I had no indication of what was going on,” Nole said. “I go, ‘Oh my God, was that me that did that?’ and (the paramedic) goes, ‘Yes.’ ”
Nole posted an online comment on Tuesday’s modbee.com story about the fatal wreck in an effort to connect with the Barragan family and ask if he could attend Milana’s funeral services, but he did not get the response he’d hoped for.
Some people criticized him for driving with a medical condition, but Nole said he’s among millions of diabetic Americans who drive every day.
Nole said his blood glucose level was 29 when the paramedic checked it. Even in the morning, after a person fasts all night, a normal blood glucose level is between 70 and 100.
“I am terribly sorry, and whatever comes back to me, I have to accept it,” Nole said. “There is nothing I can do to change what happened.”
The Barragan family is devastated. Milana’s grandmother Aggie Barragan said she does not believe a medical condition caused the crash.
California Highway Patrol Officer Brandon Moore said the medical emergency was the preliminary cause, but investigators will attempt to rule out all other possibilities before determining an official cause.
Aggie Barragan said her daughter-in-law Rachel Barragan remains hospitalized with major injuries. “They are giving her sedatives, and when she wakes up, she just cries and cries,” Aggie Barragan said.
The family set up an account on a personal fundraising website to help cover the costs of Milana’s funeral expenses and her mother’s hospital bills. To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/9td6og.