Katie Urbaszewski / HoumaToday.com
HOUMA, La. - Logan Bergeron, 14, didn’t have the easiest life a teenager could have, but he lived it to the fullest, friends and family said.
That life ended earlier this month after a pickup truck driver hit Bergeron while he was on his bicycle on Country Estates Drive in Houma, police say.
When Bergeron got home from attending East Street Alternative School, he asked his dad if he could ride his bike to a friend’s Coteau Road house, his father Tobe Bergeron said. No, it’s too far, he responded.
Logan went anyway.
By the time he was heading home at about 6 p.m., it had already gotten dark.
Police say Logan pulled out in front of a Dodge Ram truck, driven by Stephen Pellegrin, 28. Skid marks show Pellegrin did not veer out of his lane. However, a breath test revealed that Pellegrin was drunk, and he was charged with DWI and later vehicular homicide.
Pellegrin paid $500 bonds on each charge, said Judge John Walker, who set the amounts.
That added another layer of grief for the 14-year-old’s family to bear, his father said. It’s a low bond for vehicular homicide. For example, Walker set a $20,000 bond for teenager Stephen Murphy, who pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide last year after he drunkenly flipped his pickup into a ditch, killing his girlfriend in the truck.
Tobe Bergeron said he is angry Pellegrin got out of jail on $1,000 while Chrystal Bergeron, his wife and Logan Bergeron’s mother, is in jail on a $10,000 bond. She is being held on charges that include child desertion.
“He killed my son while drinking and driving. Five hundred dollars?” Tobe Bergeron said.
Chrystal Bergeron was temporarily released to attend Logan’s funeral, Tobe Bergeron said.
“It’s my understanding that the driver wasn’t at fault other than that he was intoxicated, that (alcohol use) was not the cause and it was an unavoidable accident,” Walker said.
The case will likely be presented before a grand jury, and the bond could be changed depending on what the jury determines Pellegrin should be charged with, Walker said.
Logan’s 12-year-old brother, Nathan Bergeron, said his grief is also tinged with anger at Pellegrin.
He misses his brother, he said.
“He taught me everything,” he said.
Still, Nathan said Logan had not lately spent a lot of time with him or his other brother, 10-year-old Kaiden Bergeron. Logan spent most of his time a couple houses down from their Morris Porche Street home, with Angie Cardenas and her children.
Cardenas’s son Jeremy Vicknair, 17, said he misses “everything” about the neighborhood kid who often slept under the same roof as him and seemed like a brother.
Vicknair said he drove by the scene of Bergeron’s crash without knowing who it was. State Police made him turn around.
Cardenas said while she was at work, she first heard a bicyclist had been hit, then that the bicyclist had died — which was a false rumor at the time.
“When I heard it was Logan, I fell to my knees,” she said.
Bergeron was taken to Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, and he died four days later, police said.
“I got to spend the night with him Monday night (Nov. 6, the day he died),” Cardenas said. “I held his hand till his heart stopped. I did not leave his side.”
Cardenas said she misses “his smile, his jokes.” She and her three sons are taking his death “very, very hard.”
Vicknair said his brother Phillip Trahan Jr. had fixed up a dirt bike for Bergeron to ride, and they all rode dirt bikes whenever they could. They loved fishing and hunting together as well, and their family often took him camping.
Tobe Bergeron said he often would fish and hunt with his son.
“Logan was a real sweet kid,” Tobe Bergeron said. “He would give you the shirt off his back. He would help out if you needed help. He was just all around a good kid — real smart, very outgoing. He liked to mingle. He had a whole lot of friends.”
Bergeron “got into a little trouble” when he was younger and was sent to East Street Alternative School, Tobe Bergeron said.
“He was trying to act cool, and somebody, one of his friends, gave him some weed, some marijuana” on school grounds, Tobe Bergeron said. “He was just trying to be cool. He showed somebody, and somebody went and told on him. They put him on probation, and he was taking care of it. ... He’s really not a troubled kid.
“Back a long time ago, I used to smoke weed, and he’d get mad at me. He’d say, ‘I know what you’re doing. I see it in your eyes.’ He got mad at me.”
“Logan was a wonderful person,” Cardenas said. “He touched a lot of people.”
TRUCK DRIVER MOURNING LOSS, ATTORNEY SAYS
Pellegrin is a father of a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old, “so Stephen thinks it’s horrible for the family and the child that died to have to go through that pain and anguish. ... He’s so sorry,” his attorney Tracy Schwab said.
There are reasons, based on witness testimony, why his bond is so low, Schwab said.
However, Schwab said he has to tell Pellegrin’s side of the story to the court first.
Pellegrin works as a pump operator for Chet Morrison Contractors, Schwab said. His wife was in the car with him at the time of the crash.
Pellegrin is “devastated, very, very sad, and very concerned about the child and the child’s family,” Schwab said.
Staff Writer Katie Urbaszewski can be reached at 448-7617 or firstname.lastname@example.org.