Family of hit-and-run victim pleas for help

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 16, 2009



LAPLACE – The family of a 36-year-old Reserve woman killed in a hit-and-run accident Wednesday morning is asking the unidentified driver who struck her to come forward and take responsibility for the accident.

Family members of Dione Duhe, who was struck by a light-colored pickup truck while trying to cross Airline Highway on foot, are hoping someone has information that can help authorities locate the driver.

“Someone out there had to see something that morning,” said Duhe’s aunt Nicole Michelle Stanton. “Too many people drive that stretch or road in the morning. There had to be a witness.”

Stanton and another aunt, Nicole Williams, said the family understands and can accept that the incident was an accident – they are just looking for answers as to why the driver of the truck failed to even stop to see who or what was hit.

“You had to know that you hit something,” Williams said. “What kind of person could hit anything and just keep on going? That person just left her there to die in the street.”

According to a release from State Police, Duhe had arrived early to a medical appointment at a LaPlace dialysis center and had decided to cross the street to a nearby store to grab a drink and a newspaper around 5:45 a.m. Witnesses said Duhe stepped into the path of truck, which was traveling westbound on Airline in the left lane.

The report said the truck hit Duhe near the intersection of Belle Pointe Boulevard and Airline Highway and then continued to travel west on Airline. Duhe was transported to River Parishes Hospital in LaPlace where she died.

Trooper Joseph Piglia, a spokesman for State Police Troop B, said investigators are examining debris left at the scene in an effort to determine what type of vehicle was involved in the accident. He said a surveillance camera at a gas station in the area captured an image of a light-colored truck at the time of the accident.

Stanton and Williams said Duhe was “the kind of person that could always make someone laugh – even if they didn’t want to.”

“She knew everybody and always had a smile,” Williams said. “To us, she was everything. She was a sister more than she was a niece. She took care of my children and spoiled them so much. She always had great joy in her heart.”

Williams said Duhe was receiving dialysis treatments three times a week to help her with kidney disease. She said Duhe was set to get a kidney transplant in February.

Stanton said, “She knew she was sick but never dwelled on it. Just always stayed positive.”

Duhe’s brother, Desmond James, said his sister spent a great deal of time volunteering for Greater New Plymouth Rock Baptist Church, where she attended services regulary.

“She did everything at that church except for singing in the choir,” said James with a bit of a laugh. “She knew she couldn’t sing.”

Stanton said she and the rest of the family are still holding out hope that the person behind the wheel can work up the courage to come forward and admit to the accident.

“I know this person has to be hurting,” Stanton said. “We are just asking you to just come forward and face the consequences. Dione deserves that much.

State Police investigators are asking anyone who with information to call Troop B at 504-471-2775.