Exactly one year after vehicular homicide of student, DTHS freshman struck and killed by motorist.

     PRAIRIEVILLE – A 26-year-old motorist was charged with speeding and negligent homicide on La. 73, north of Airline Highway, in the early evening hours of Dec. 9.   

     Shortly before 6 p.m., Troopers from Louisiana State Police (LSP) Troop A began investigating the single vehicle fatality crash involving a bicyclist. The crash took the life of 14-year-old, Brennan Rube, a freshman at Dutchtown High School (DTHS).

     The initial investigation by LSP revealed that the crash occurred as Rube was traveling southbound on La. 73 on his bicycle, a police news release stated. At the same time, 26-year-old, Joshua Ashford of Gonzales, was traveling southbound on La. 73 in a 2000 Dodge truck. As Ashford approached Rube from behind, the right front side of his vehicle struck Rube and ejected him from his bicycle.

     Rube was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Ascension Parish Coroner’s Office. Ashford was properly restrained and was not injured. Impairment is not suspected to be a factor in the crash, however a toxicology sample will be taken from Rube and Ashford for analysis.

     At the time of the crash, Rube, who was wearing dark-colored clothing, is reported as not having worn a helmet and lacking possession of required safety lighting on his bicycle’s front and rear. Troopers have also determined that Ashford was traveling in excess of the posted 45 MPH speed limit. 

     Ashford was charged with speeding and negligent homicide and was booked into the Ascension Parish Jail.

     On Dec. 10, DTHS Principal Carli Francois informed students, staff and parents of the accident. Ascension Parish Schools Superintendent, Patrice Pujol released a statement shortly thereafter. 

     “There is nothing more tragic than the life of a young person cut short,” Pujol said. “Our hearts go out to the Rube family and Brennan’s friends. Counselors are on-hand at Dutchtown High School to help students and staff members cope with this terrible tragedy.”

     Rube’s passing is an eerie reminder for the DTHS community.

     On Dec. 9, 2014, the school suffered student loss by way of vehicle accident on La. 74, with the death of 15-year-old Claire Carline. Carline was traveling to school with her two sisters Camille and Colleen when their vehicle encountered a head-on collision with then 19-year-old, Dwight Perrilloux III, who LSP reported was high on drugs.

     Perrilloux III was booked into Ascension Parish jail on counts of vehicular homicide, first-offense DWI and two counts of vehicular negligent injuring. Three days later, Perrilloux was released on a property bond, two months later he was arrested on domestic battery charges. Both cases are pending.

     At the time, Johnny Balfantz, who was the public information officer for the Ascension Parish School Board, said the mood was somber in the school office where administrators gathered with law enforcement officers during the morning.

     School had let out early that day for a previously planned early dismissal for staff development. Balfantz reported that as students departed from school, some were crying and others looked stunned.

     In light of both incidents, LSP remains that impaired driving and drugged driving continues to be a major problem throughout Louisiana. Whether impaired through alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two, the consequences of driving while impaired remain the same. Troopers will actively enforce Louisiana’s DWI laws across the state and will remain committed to a public education campaign to end impaired and drugged driving.

     Troopers also wish to remind motorist that Louisiana law requires a minimum distance of three feet when passing a bicycle. Bicyclist should remain as close to the right side of the roadway as possible and are required to follow all traffic laws. Bicyclists should never assume that a motorist can see them. Precautions such as wearing an approved bicycle helmet, reflective materials and avoiding distractions are key to preventing crashes and avoiding injuries.