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Crash victim's body never found

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LULING- Frustration is mounting for the family of a man from Baton Rouge killed by a hit-and-run driver on the Luling bridge near New Orleans last month.

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The driver, who has been identified, has not been arrested.

Brady Ortego, of Baton Rouge, was working on the bridge when the driver crashed through the work site on January 14. The driver apparently walked away from the crash scene, leaving behind the heavily damaged vehicle.

For the last month, Ortego's wife, Adele Domingue Ortego, has been dealing with the unimaginable pain of losing her husband and also concern the driver identified as causing the deadly crash is free. 

"This man was an amazing man who didn't deserve this," Domingue Ortego said. "He has an army of people who love him, and we can't say goodbye because we are so caught up in this, and the lack of justice, that we have not been able to do him the service he deserves."

Ortego was installing cameras on the Luling Bridge when an out-of-control driver crashed into the worksite. Ortego was thrown over the bridge and into the Mississippi River. His body has not been found. The driver of the mangled vehicle got out of the truck and walked down the bridge after the truck he was driving was disabled.

State Police were able to identify the driver, but have not made an arrest, raising serious questions about why he's still free.

State Police released a statement to the WBRZ Investigative Unit about why there hasn't been an arrest:

"LSP is continuing to investigate the hit and run crash that occurred on the Interstate 310 Hale Boggs Bridge on January 14th, 2021. At the conclusion of the investigation, Troopers will present physical evidence as well as findings from the scene to the St. Charles Parish District Attorney for consultation of criminal charges. The investigation is ongoing and there is no additional information available at this time."

The WBRZ Investigative Unit, following leads from sources, found the vehicle involved in the deadly crash was recently released to the owner. WBRZ recorded video of the truck parked at a home, covered with a tarp in Reserve.  WBRZ sources said the vehicle was released back to the owner after it was processed for evidence. DNA was taken from a blood-stained airbag and proved to be a match to the person presumed to be driving the vehicle at the time of the deadly crash.

"We have to go to bed every night and wake up every morning and there's no justice," Domingue Ortego said. "The person responsible is out there living his life and has not even had a slap on the wrist."

Domingue Ortego said she is speaking up on her husband's behalf and her faith in the justice system is fading with each passing day.

"Brady is probably the most loving individual that anyone could ever meet," Domingue Ortego said. "He would give anyone the last shirt off his back and the last dollar in his pocket even if he needed it. He's never met a human that he didn't love."

The WBRZ Investigative Unit asked the St. Charles Parish District Attorney for a comment but hasn't heard back.

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