DENHAM SPRINGS — A man whose body was discovered Monday morning in a water-filled ditch off Juban Road just north of Interstate 12 had been struck by a pickup Sunday night, a State Police spokesman said.
State Police were called around 8:15 p.m. Sunday about a single-vehicle crash on Juban Road between I-12 and U.S. 190 in Livingston Parish, Trooper 1st Class Jared Sandifer said.
Ergin Reese III, 39, of Denham Springs, told troopers he was driving a 2011 GMC Sierra pickup south on Juban Road when he hit what he thought was a garbage can with the front right side of his truck, Sandifer said in a news release.
Reese stopped his truck and called police.
Troopers and Livingston Parish sheriff’s deputies searched the area to find the object that Reese said he struck, but they found nothing, Sandifer said.
Shortly after 7 a.m. Monday, a passer-by notified authorities he had discovered a body in a deep, water-filled ditch off Juban Road, Sandifer said.
State Police Crime Lab technicians determined Reese’s pickup struck the victim, later identified as Devin I. Hammond, 27, of Baton Rouge, Sandifer said.
Investigators determined Hammond, who was wearing dark clothing, was walking north, partially in the road when he was struck by Reese’s southbound pickup, Sandifer said.
Impairment is not suspected to be a factor, Sandifer said, and Reese was not cited in the crash.
Investigators determined Hammond died from blunt-force head trauma and drowning, Livingston Parish Coroner Ron Coe said Monday.
Henry Hammond, Devin Hammond’s father, said Monday that authorities told him his son had been hit by a truck and drowned.
“They think he drowned because he was knocked out or probably couldn’t do anything for himself,” Henry Hammond said.
Hammond said his son was walking home from his girlfriend’s workplace in Livingston Parish and was headed toward the interstate to try to catch a ride home.
Hammond expressed dismay over the length of time it took authorities to find his son’s body.
“It doesn’t make me feel too good,” he said.
Authorities encountered difficulties finding Devin Hammond’s body because the ditch was overgrown and full of water, Sandifer said.
The body might have been underwater Sunday night and floated up Monday morning, Sandifer said.
Reese also was not sure Sunday night where exactly the accident happened because he met troopers at a nearby gas station, Sandifer said.
Henry Hammond said his son was working for a scaffolding company in Baton Rouge.
He said his son loved animals, especially dogs. Devin Hammond leaves behind a 4-year-old daughter, his father said.
“He got along with everybody pretty well in the neighborhood,” the elder Hammond said. “Everybody knew him.”