On New Year’s Eve, Christian Nagel began his final post on Facebook, saying, “I wish I could go back in time.”
Time ran out for the 20-year-old Ahwatukee man on Tuesday, Jan. 2, when he lost his life in a motor vehicle accident during rush hour only a block from Purcell Tire and Service Center, 38th Street and Ray Road, where he had been working as a service technician for about 18 months.
Phoenix Police spokesman Sgt. Alan Pfohl said Nagel was on his motorcycle when an automobile made a left turn into a private driveway without yielding to the victim, causing him to run into her car. The unidentified 42-year-old woman driving the car was not hurt.
“The motorcyclist was wearing a helmet,” Pfohl said. “Investigators also determined the driver of the vehicle was not impaired. Speed does not appear to be a factor.”
Ironically, at the time of the crash, police officers were across the street investigating a $6,000 armed robbery at a Chase Bank site inside a Fry’s Supermarket, Pfohl said.
“An adult male approached a teller and threatened to use a weapon if she didn’t give him cash,” he said. “No weapon was actually seen.”
City Councilman Sal DiCiccio said an unexplained delay at the bank in notifying police might have enabled the bandit to get away.
Through a friend, Christian’s family declined comment.
But social media sites were awash in an outpouring of grief for the Desert Vista High School graduate and Mississippi native.
Last Saturday, his previous employer, Pure Luxury Tint and Detailing Services in Chandler, held a car wash to raise money for funeral expenses.
“The outpouring of love and generosity from our community was just amazing,” said owner Tim Berry, praising volunteers who helped his employees wash cars as well as people who turned out to donate.
Nagel had just left Purcell after visiting with coworkers for about an hour, said a service manager who identified himself only as Travis.
“All the guys here were extremely upset to the point where they were in tears that evening,” he said.
Travis said that because he is relatively new at the Ahwatukee Purcell branch, he did not know Nagel as well as longtime employees did.
“Every time I talked to him, though, he seemed like a happy guy,” he said, adding that before he left Tuesday afternoon, “he was in a great mood.”
“He wasn’t scheduled to work that day and had just dropped in to talk with the guys,” Travis added.
High school acquaintances and former coworkers alike remembered Nagel as a low-key, laid-back young man with a sense of humor and a passion for cars.
His Facebook page includes several dozen pictures of classic and sports cars and Travis said he was known around Purcell as a technician who loved automobiles.
Several other efforts are underway to help Nagel’s family with funeral expenses.
On Saturday, Jan. 13, Zzeeks Pizza, 4825 E. Warner Road, Ahwatukee, will hold a bake sale and silent auction between 4 and 8 p.m. From 11 a.m. till 11 p.m., owners Jody and Mark Pectol also will donate 20 percent of proceeds from all sales to help the family.
Jody Pectol said she has invited all Ahwatukee businesses to donate gift certificates that can be raffled throughout the day as well.
People also can donate at a gofundme.com site under Christian’s name. So far, donations have exceeded $5,000 of a $7,000 fundraising goal.
A family friend said funeral arrangements were incomplete.