Arrest made on Interstate 55 molestation case

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 6, 2004


Managing Editor

HAMMOND – An arrest was made Thursday in Holden of an apparent sexual offender, who had reportedly prowled along Interstate 55, north of LaPlace.

John P. Tetterington, 28, of 28896 George White Road in Holden, surrendered to Livingston and Tangipahoa sheriff’s detectives and charged with one count of sexual battery.

Lt. Stuart Murphy, of the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, said a victim provided a partial license plate which led to driver’s license information and a photograph used in a lineup, which enabled a victim to provide a positive identification. Additional charges are pending, Murphy said.

Murphy reported that a “very nice, good-looking” white male in his 20s or early 30s had stopped several female motorists on the shoulder of the interstate.

Once he had them pulled over, the suspect approached the women and suddenly grabbed and fondled them. In most cases, the women successfully broke away and the man fled the scene.

At least one incident took place Nov. 23 in St. John Parish, according to Public Information Officer Sgt. Dane Clement.

Clement said on that date, a Hammond woman was southbound on I-55 at Milepost 11.5 at about 6:38 p.m. A man driving a dark car, perhaps a Nissan Maxima or Sentra, pulled alongside and gestured that something was wrong with her car.

The two vehicles pulled over and, as they both approached the rear of her vehicle, he suddenly grabbed her in a bear hug and fondled her. She broke away and tried to flag down traffic, as he fled the scene.

Murphy said five confirmed incidents of these encounters have been reported, with others still under investigation. Most took place between 6:30 and 8 p.m., between Nov. 23 and 29.

Most of the victims are white females between the ages of 20 and 35 years old.

Women motorists are cautioned to take extra care when driving to avoid similar incidents. Anyone approached by another driver should continue to a public, lighted area.

Anyone who has such an encounter in Tangipahoa Parish is asked to call Murphy at 902-2036 or, in St. John Parish, Detective Sgt. Terrill St. Martin at 652-2773 or 652-9513.