Family and friends of Hali Coss, Lily Dufrene and Michaila Bowling are in the process of planning The Hali, Lily and Michaila Memorial Golf Tournament, which will be held on Nov. 5 at the Grand Ridge Golf Club in Luling.
The day is planned to honor the lives of the three teens – all Luling residents, graduates of the Hahnville High School class of 2021, and freshmen students at Nicholls State University – whose their lives were tragically cut short last November when a two-vehicle crash occurred on LA Hwy 20 in Chackbay.
The preliminary investigation revealed that 39-year-old Joey Clement of Thibodaux was driving northbound in a 2019 Ford F-150 when he crossed the centerline and struck a SUV head-on, according to Louisiana State Police Troop C Public Affairs Spokesman Trooper Ross Brennan. According to State Police, Clement displayed signs of impairment and was arrested for DWI fourth offense with additional charges pending.
In March of this year the Nicholls State University Foundation established a new endowed scholarship to honor the memories of the three former students. Bowling and Dufrene were studying nursing at the university, while Coss was an allied health sciences freshman.
Traci Dufrene, Lily’s mother, said the golf tournament will raise funds for the scholarships. She added that she and the other victims’ families have started the nonprofit organization Drive One Way, which will advocate against drunk driving.
“Our mission is to educate and spread awareness on the impact of impaired driving and to advocate for the victims,” she said. “We’re in the very beginning stages of incorporating it. This is a new venture for all of us. The goal of the tournament is to fund the scholarships and to help make life a little bit easier for students going into health care. Our girls … they were all helpers … we just want to continue that legacy for them.”
Dufrene said this is the first golf tournament planned for the organization, but that so far the response from the community has been overwhelming. She hopes to make it an annual event.
“Our girls were all very giving, and they’re not here to do that now … so this is our way of honoring them,” Dufrene said. “The culture of Southeast Louisiana …just what we have heard time and time again … is that drinking and driving is just the culture here and that’s just not acceptable. Our greatest mission is to make people aware that that’s not acceptable, and we definitely want to advocate for victims and work with lawmakers to make people held more accountable.”
She said the case against Clement is still in the fact-finding stages and that no trial date has been set.
The November golf tournament, Dufrene added, will be a family affair with lots of food and entertainment for children.
For information on sponsorship opportunities, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For golfer sign-up links, search the group “The Hali, Lily & Michaila Memorial Golf Tournament” on Facebook.