A 65-year-old Slidell-area man was arrested Monday after St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's deputies investigating a hit-and-run accident found a car with damage consistent with the Friday evening accident.
Willis Barker II was booked with careless operation of a motor vehicle, negligent injuring and hit and run driving, according to a Sheriff's Office news release.
The victim, 36-year-old Ivan Toney, works part-time as a laborer for Slidell's recreation department, according to Kevin Walcott, director.
Deputies responded to a call Friday about a man who had been struck by a vehicle at Airport Road and Tiara Drive. They found an unresponsive man lying on the shoulder of the roadway. He was taken to a south shore hospital where he remains in critical condition.
Members of the traffic division were canvassing the area Monday afternoon when the recovered evidence from the scene that led them to believe the vehicle was a red Nissan Versa.
They found a vehicle matching that description with damage consistent with the crash at a nearby residence on Bogie Drive, where they found Barker.
He has an arrest record, including a DWI in 1991 to which he pleaded guilty under Article 894, which means that the offense can be expunged. His second DWI arrest, in 2016, was treated as first offense but was dropped by prosecutors.
Toney's mother, Karen Ray, said that he was hit about two blocks from his apartment in The Meadows, which is also off of Airport Road. His family did not learn that he had been injured until Saturday morning, she said, and they don't know whether he was returning home or going out when he was hit.
She said she was relieved to learn that an arrest had been made.
He remains heavily sedated, she said, and is on a ventilator.
All of his ribs and his sternum were broken, his mother said, with the worst damage to his right side. He may require surgery. He also suffered an injury to his head and has brain swelling, but Ray said that had improved.
A lifelong resident of Slidell and graduate of Slidell High School, Toney is the youngest of Ray's three children. He's known as "Mr. Slidell," a nickname that Ray said Toney adopted himself.