Two families come together to mourn ― and call for change

Two families come together to mourn ― and call for change

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - One year ago, a suspected drunk driver fatally stuck two friends in Makua.

In a moving ceremony Tuesday, their loved ones gathered at Zablan Beach in Nanakuli to mourn together. And at 7:30 p.m., lanterns etched with heartfelt messages were released into the night sky.

It was about that time on Feb. 19, 2018, that Jonah Ragsdale and Daniel Mole were killed in a hit-and-run.

Ever since, nothing has been the same for Ragsdale’s mother, Lea Aquino.

“Just everything is different. And it will always be different now,” she said.

Ragsdale, 21, was stranded on the side of Farrington Highway near Makua Beach with a flat tire. His friend Daniel Mole, 23, came to help him when they were both struck by an alleged drunk driver who fled the scene.

Both young men died from their injuries.

Both families are still reeling from their deaths.

“Disbelief still yet. He was with me every day and without him is hard,” said Jody Ragsdale, Ragsdale’s father.

Sierra Burns, 21, was caught after allegedly fleeing the scene and arrested in Nanakuli. Police say they believe alcohol is a factor. She now faces five charges in connection with the crash and remains jailed awaiting her trial.

Records show she had been previously arrested for DUI in 2016, but that case was dismissed because of court congestion.

The heartbroken families hope the community hears their message and wants tougher punishments for drunk drivers and repeat offenders.

“It has to stop,” said Mole’s father, Richard. “You watch the news recently and there’s so many people that have been passing away due to somebody’s neglect and so much people are affected, and it has to stop.”

“It’s senseless,” said Jody Ragsdale. “It’s something that shouldn’t have happened and seeing it happen again and again this past year is ridiculous."

The families will be sign waving Wednesday at Farrington Highway and Laumania Avenue from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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