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Mother arrested as third suspect in Jan. 14 fatal hit-and-run crash on I-310 in St. Charles Parish

Brady Ortego was struck and killed while working on the Hale Boggs Bridge in January.
Brady Ortego was struck and killed while working on the Hale Boggs Bridge in January.(Facebook)
Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 11:04 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2021 at 11:59 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A mother has been arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into a fatal hit-and-run that occurred around 1 a.m. on Jan. 14 on the Hale Boggs Bridge in St. Charles Parish, according to Louisiana State Police.

Pebbles Johnson, 51, has been arrested transporting the suspect, her son, Hunter Mason Johnson, 22, of Reserve, to a hotel in Houma after his grandmother, Marie Sally Dufrene, 73, allegedly picked him up from the crash scene.

JUST IN: Mother arrested as third suspect in Jan. 14 fatal hit-and-run crash on I-310 in St. Charles Parish https://bit.ly/3ASo7Xj

Posted by WVUE FOX 8 News on Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Police say Johnson struck multiple vehicles and Brady Ortego, 44, of Baton Rouge, in an active work zone. He then reportedly fled on foot and left his car on the shoulder of I-310.

Ortego was thrown from the bridge into the Mississippi River. His remains have yet to be discovered despite search and rescue efforts.

Police arrested Dufrene, who troopers say prevented investigators from making an arrest the night of the crash.

Police say that Pebbles Johnson transported Hunter Mason Johnson from his grandmother’s residence to a hotel in Houma and assisted him in eluding capture. Given the additional findings, Troopers obtained an arrest warrant for Pebbles Johnson through the 29th Judicial District court charging her with Obstruction of Justice. On the evening of August 17, Pebbles Johnson was booked into the Nelson Coleman Correctional Center in St. Charles Parish for the active warrant.

Marie Dufrene and Hunter Johnson
Marie Dufrene and Hunter Johnson(SCPSO)

Dufrene is charged with obstruction of justice.

Johnson is facing vehicular homicide, driving under the influence, hit and run driving involving a fatality, reckless operation, and obstruction of justice charges.

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