Dutchtown High freshman mourns loss of classmate killed in bicycle crash

Dutchtown High freshman mourns loss of classmate killed in bicycle crash
Dutchtown High (Source: James Sparvero/WAFB)
Dutchtown High (Source: James Sparvero/WAFB)

GEISMAR, LA (WAFB) - There were all the signs of a tragedy Thursday at Dutchtown High School.

There were tears, the American Flag was at half-staff and the image of a mangled bicycle was weighing heavily on the minds of the community.

"I feel bad for the parents of the child," said Eric Landry, Sr., grandfather of a Dutchtown High School sophomore.

"I've cried the whole time," said Tysheyanna West, a Dutchtown freshman.

West will never again see her friend and classmate, Brennan Rube, 14, of Prairieville.

"He was the first person I've talked to since I came to Dutchtown High. He was really cool and he made everybody laugh and smile," West added.

Louisiana State Police reported Rube was riding his bicycle Wednesday night when he was hit by Joshua Ashford, 26, of Gonzales, who was driving his pickup truck south on LA 73 in Prairieville. Investigators said the collision launched the teen to his death.

Ashford is charged with negligent homicide and speeding. He posted a $25,000 bond on Thursday and was released from jail.

Dutchtown High is providing counseling for students.

"We're asking the community to keep to keep Brennan's family and Dutchtown High School in your thoughts and in your prayers," said Principal Carli Francois.

One bicycle rider said the region needs to construct more bike-friendly roads. In some parts of LA 73, the shoulder is only a foot or two wide. In other parts, there is no shoulder.

Mika Torkkola thinks that should change.

"That's the only option that the guy had, no shoulder, no bike lane," Torkkola, a volunteer with Bike Baton Rouge, explained. "It's sad to say that it's almost inevitable, especially with people driving at high speeds, you know."

Wednesday's tragedy happened one year to the date of a crash that claimed the life of another Dutchtown High School freshman.

Claire Carline was killed in a car crash on her way to school on December 9, 2014.

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