Golf tourney in memory of 3 killed by drunk driver postponed, nearly $60k still raised

Michaila Bowling, Hali Coss and Lily Dufrene were killed by a suspected drunk driver on Nov. 20, 2021.

Saturday’s weather was not conducive to an outdoor golf tournament, but that didn’t stop the fundraising efforts of family and friends of Hali Coss, Lily Dufrene and Michaila Bowling.

The first Hali, Lily and Michaila Memorial Golf Tournament was slated for Nov. 5 at the Grand Ridge Golf Club in Luling. When the sporting portion of the day had to be canceled because of rain and high winds, festivities were moved inside. A raffle, silent auction, food and drink were available to patrons, and nearly $60,000 was raised by the end of the night.

The day was 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 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 was planned to 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.

Dufrene said nearly $25,000 was raised Saturday through T-shirt sales, raffle tickets, silent auction bids and private donations. Painting sales of pieces from the St. Charles Art Guild raised $1,130, and pre-tournament sponsorships totaled $33,000, excluding donated gifts.

“We are overwhelmed by the support, love and generosity shown by the community. Changing our original plan was a difficult decision but we were blessed to have hundreds in attendance throughout the day and even online participation,” Dufrene said. “Thank you to the River Parishes community, our volunteers and Grand Ridge Golf Club ownership and management for being flexible with our changing plans and allowing us to celebrate our girls. The mission of Drive One Way is to spread awareness of the impact of drunk driving, working toward stricter laws for offenders and to change the culture of drinking and driving in Louisiana and this was a step in that direction. The Hali, Lily and Michaila Memorial was a success and capped off with an LSU win.”

 

About Monique Roth 791 Articles
Roth has both her undergraduate and graduate degree in journalism, which she has utilized in the past as an instructor at Southeastern Louisiana University and a reporter at various newspapers and online publications. She grew up in LaPlace, where she currently resides with her husband and three daughters.

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