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Man who knocked worker to his death off Hale Boggs Bridge gets 18 years in jail

WWL-TV New Orleans logo WWL-TV New Orleans 5/25/2022 WWL Staff

The man who struck and killed a construction worker on the Hale Boggs Bridge early in the morning on January 14, 2021 has been sentenced to 18 years in custody and 12 years of supervised release.

Hunter Johnson, 23, received the sentence for the death of Brady Ortego, who was struck by Johnson’s vehicle and landed in the Mississippi River below.

Johnson was arrested two months after the fatal crash and pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and obstruction charges in February and received his sentence Wednesday by Judge Timothy S. Marcel.

“Nothing can bring Brady back, but I hope that this sentence can give his family the closure and justice they deserve,” said St. Charles Parish District Attorney Joel T. Chaisson, II.

Johnson was accused of abandoning his mangled truck after the crash. His wrecked pickup was returned to him.

In a press release announcing the arrest in March 2021, State Police said “countless hours” were spent “collecting, analyzing, and reviewing digital forensics, video footage, chemical analysis, witness statements, and physical evidence.”

WWL-TV legal analyst Keva Landrum said that because the driver fled the scene, investigators must have developed some other evidence of impairment to make an arrest on the most serious charge: vehicular homicide, which carries up to 30 years in prison.

Johnson was remanded to the Louisiana Department of Corrections after sentencing.

Prior to the sentencing, Judge marcel heard victim impact statements from Ortego's mother, wife, step-daughter and sister. 

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