I write today to ask someone with knowledge about the recent New Year’s hit-and-run homicide of a young tourist to speak up. This particular incident is not personal to me, but the subject matter is. Nearly 10 years ago, in the early morning hours of Feb. 25, 2006, my husband was intentionally run over by a driver on Magazine Street. His name was Toby Beaugh; he was 29 years old; he was loved and adored by many. His death occurred at the start of Mardi Gras weekend, just six months after Hurricane Katrina. In the immediate hours and days following the hit-and-run, fliers were circulated; a $20,000 Crimestoppers award was announced; a billboard went up; I appeared on CNN and Fox News. Days, weeks and months passed. No break in the case. I ultimately had to decide whether to pick up the shattered pieces of my life or obsess over finding Toby’s killer. I chose the former. It is what Toby would have wanted for me. Ten years later, I do not regret having made that decision. I have long ago forgiven the driver for his act that night. However, I cannot say with confidence that I have forgiven the driver, or the persons with knowledge of the crime, of their cowardly act of remaining quiet.

This brings me to the purpose of writing today, as my letter is not about Toby or myself. It is about a senseless tragedy involving another young man and an injustice that should not be perpetuated. Joshua Woodruff, age 28, was run over by a driver on Decatur Street in the early morning hours of Jan. 1. His lifeless body was dragged approximately six miles across town. From the little I have read about Joshua, he was a great kid, and his family and friends should take comfort in the fact that he lived his life fully and completely, with passion and purpose.

Joshua was not from New Orleans; his family is not here; they do not have the countless local family members and friends that we had canvassing the city and surrounding areas, searching for a vehicle. I may be speculating, but a person driving in the French Quarter at 3 a.m. on a holiday who makes his or her way to the West Bank is likely from the New Orleans area or has close ties to the area.

With that in mind, I join the Woodruff family in begging and pleading for the driver to turn himself or herself in, for anyone with knowledge of this crime to contact Crimestoppers. If you see a black sedan that you even slightly suspect in this crime, write down the plate information and contact Crimestoppers. No family should have to live year-after-year with the knowledge that the person who took the life of their innocent son/brother/husband has not faced justice.

Melissa Beaugh

attorney

Metairie