Mom finds forgiveness for driver

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HUDSON, N.H. (AP) – A mother’s chance meeting in the cemetery with the teen accused of causing her son’s death in a car crash has prompted a change of heart, and now she says she does not want the teen to go to jail.

Patty Cyr was reading the new “Harry Potter” book to her son’s grave on Tuesday when Michael Ramirez walked into St. Patrick’s Cemetery.

On what would have been Nathan Hergenhahn’s 17th birthday, Cyr was visiting her son. Ramirez was visiting his friend.

“When I saw him, I burst into tears,” said Cyr, who demanded last month that Ramirez be jailed for causing the high-speed crash.

“He asked me, ‘Patty, can I please hug you? I said ‘yes,’ and he hugged me so hard I thought I was going to break in half.’ He said he thinks about Nathan and prays to him everyday, and that he’s so sorry he hurt my family,” she said.

They had not spoken for close to a year, not since last July 30, the night Ramirez’s speeding car veered into the opposite lane on Old Derry Road and collided head-on with an SUV.

The crash killed Hergenhahn, a football star at Alvirne High School, who was a passenger in the car.

Prosecutors had reached a plea deal that would have spared Ramirez jail time, but they withdrew it last month after the victim’s family found photos on a Myspace showing Ramirez apparently taking part in an underage drinking party.

But Friday, Cyr told The Telegraph of Nashua that she’s had a change of heart, and does not want Ramirez behind bars.

“Our grieving for Nathan will never stop, but I also know that Mickey Ramirez loved him, too,” said Cyr. “We don’t want to see kids visiting Mickey in jail. It’s not going to bring Nathan back.”

Cyr said she believes her son would have appreciated her graveside reconciliation with Ramirez.

“I have a feeling that Nathan would have patted me on the back and said, ‘That’s what I wanted for my birthday,”‘ Cyr said.

Hergenhahn’s family will hold a candlelight vigil Monday night to commemorate the anniversary of the fatal accident. Friends, family and loved ones will gather at the crash site at 9:15 p.m.



Information from: The Telegraph, http://www.nashuatelegraph.com

AP-ES-07-28-07 1428EDT

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