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A Louisiana Man Had 3 DWI Offenses. Then, He Got Behind the Wheel While Drunk and Killed 3 College Coeds Celebrating a Birthday.

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Dec. 13 2023, Published 2:05 p.m. ET

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A Louisiana man with multiple DWI offenses was recently sentenced for causing the deaths of three college freshmen in a head-on collision while he was under the influence.

Just after midnight on Nov. 20, 2021, Joey Clement of Thibodaux was driving on a highway in Chackbay when his vehicle crossed the centerline and slammed into an SUV with three occupants inside — Lily Dufrene, 19, Michaila Bowling and Hali Coss, both 18.

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The three Nicholls State University freshmen died at the scene. Clement suffered minor injuries in the crash.

Authorities took Clement into custody and booked him into the Lafourche Parish jail. He was charged with three felony counts of vehicular homicide, DWI offense, which WWL-TV reported was his fourth, no seat belt, and failure to drive on the right side of the road.

The Lafourche Parish District Attorney's Office said Clement’s prior DWI offenses occurred in 2017 in Calcasieu Parish, Ascension Parish, and Lafourche Parish.

Clement was recently sentenced to serve 85 years behind bars: 20 years for DUI, five years for the negligent homicide of the driver, Lily Dufrene, and 60 years total for vehicular homicide for the deaths of her passengers, Bowling and Coss, WDSU reported.

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Aliana Ramirez, a friend of the women killed, told WWL-TV the trio had been celebrating Dufrene’s birthday the night of the deadly crash.

“People are losing their lives and they aren't getting a chance at life because it's getting taken away from them,” Ramirez told the station. “Those three girls were so caring, so adventurous, and so loved.”

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Ramirez noted life sciences major Coss “was literally the life of the party,” while nursing students Dufrene was the “independent one” and “would put a smile on your face” and Bowling “always was the one to make you laugh.”

“I know they're in a better place now and I know they're watching after me,” Ramirez said.

She added of the driver accused of DWI: “You still continue to drive, you're taking peoples’ lives away and it's not fair."


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