Three college students killed in crash with alleged drunk driver
Three Nicholls State University students were killed Nov. 20 in a vehicle crash involving an alleged drunk driver who was charged with his fourth DWI.
According to a news release from Louisiana State Police, 39-year-old Joey Clement of Thibodaux was driving a 2019 Ford F-150 north on Hwy. 20 in the Chackbay area just after midnight when the truck crossed the centerline and struck an SUV head-on.
All three occupants in the SUV suffered fatal injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene. Clement experienced minor injuries. Clement was unrestrained while restraint use is unknown for the SUV occupants.
The driver of the SUV has been identified as 19-year-old Lily Dufrene of Luling. The passengers of the SUV have been identified as 18-year-old Hali Coss and 18-year-old Michaila Bowling, both of Luling.
All three were freshmen students at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, according to a fundraiser set up to support their families. As of 3:15 p.m. on Nov. 21, the fundraiser had surpassed its goal of $30,000. It surpassed $50,000 by midday Nov. 22, a GoFundMe spokesperson confirmed.
According to fundraiser's organizer, the three women were returning from a birthday dinner for Dufrene.
"All three young ladies impacted everyone in the community and touched many peoples hearts. They will be truly missed," the organizer stated on the fundraiser page.
In one night in the south central Louisiana area covered by Troop C, seven people lost their lives due to impaired driving, according to the news release.
"Over and over again, troopers see the tragic consequences of preventable motor vehicle crashes. Nearly half of the fatal crashes in Louisiana are caused by impaired drivers. The Louisiana State Police urges motorists to have a plan in place that includes a designated driver or an alternate ride home when consuming alcohol. Please choose to not drive impaired or ride with an impaired driver," the release stated.
In an email to NSU students, a university spokesperson offered condolences to the family and friends of the three students. The university has made counseling services available.
According to a St. Charles Herald Guide article, they were 2021 graduates of Hahnville High School.
Bowling and Dufrene were both studying nursing, while Coss was majoring in allied health sciences.
This article has been updated on Nov. 22 with new details.