PRAIRIEVILLE — A combination of factors, including the time of the crash and the speed of the vehicle involved, appears to have led to the death of a 14-year-old struck Wednesday night while riding his bicycle on two-lane La. 73 in Prairieville.
Dutchtown High School freshman Brennan Rube was riding south on La. 73 toward Airline Highway, between La. 42 and Airline, when he was struck from behind by a 2000 Dodge pickup truck, driven by Joshua Ashford, 26.
Ashford, who was released from Ascension Parish Jail on Wednesday night after posting a $25,000 bond, faces counts of speeding and negligent homicide, according to a State Police report.
It was dark at 6 p.m. when the crash occurred, and Rube was wearing dark clothes, said Trooper First Class Bryan Lee, a State Police spokesperson.
“He was riding in the road, but cyclists have the right to be in the road,” Lee said of Rube, adding that cyclists are required to follow the same traffic laws as vehicles and should be as far to the right as possible. A vehicle passing a cyclist is required to give the cyclist 3 feet of space.
Ashford, the driver, was driving above the posted 45-mph speed limit in that area of La. 73, Lee said.
“For them (the troopers) to charge him with negligent homicide, it had to be several miles over that speed limit,” he said.
Rube, who was thrown from his bike, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Ascension Parish Coroner’s Office.
Counselors were at Dutchtown High on Thursday and will return Friday to help students and staff members cope with Rube’s death. The counselors will be there as many days as needed, said Jackie Tisdell, the public information officer for the Ascension Parish School System.
“There is nothing more tragic than the life of a young person cut short. Our hearts go out to the Rube family and Brennan’s friends,” schools Superintendent Patrice Pujol said in a statement Thursday.
Impairment isn’t suspected to be a factor in the crash. Toxicology samples were taken from Rube and Ashford for analysis. Ashford was wearing his seatbelt and was not injured in the crash.
Rube was not wearing a helmet, and there were no lights on his bike, Lee said. State law requires that bicycles ridden at night have a white light on the front and a red light on the back. Lee said such traffic fatalities typically involve a long investigation, and a crash report will be submitted to the 23rd Judicial District Attorney probably within the next month.