CHACKBAY, La. — Three Nicholls State University freshmen were killed this weekend after being hit head-on by an alleged drunk driver with a history of DWI offenses.
"People are losing their lives and they aren't getting a chance at life because it's getting taken away from them," said Aliana Ramirez, a close friend to all three victims. "Those three girls were so caring, so adventurous, and so loved."
Ramirez graduated from Hahnville High School this year with 19-year-old Lily Dufrene and 18-year-olds Hali Coss and Michaila Bowling. They were some of her best friends.
"Lily would put a smile on your face," Ramirez said. "She was the independent one. She would always look out for us."
"Michaela was my other half. She was my best friend. She always was the one to make you laugh," Ramirez said. "She knew everything about me."
"Hali was my ride or die. We did so much together. She was literally the life of the party," Ramirez said.
Freshman at Nicholls State University, Hali was majoring in Health Sciences and Lily and Michaila were majoring in nursing, according to Ramirez.
"I know they're in a better place now and I know they're watching after me. I love ya'll so much," Ramirez said through tears.
According to Louisiana State Police, just after midnight early Saturday morning, 39-year-old Joey Clement of Thibodaux was driving northbound on Highway 20 in Chackbay. Investigators say he crossed the centerline and hit an SUV head on. Lily, Hali, and Michaila were in that SUV. The three girls died at the scene. Clement experienced minor injuries, according to LSP.
The young women were celebrating Lily's birthday, according to Ramirez.
"I feel lost without them, but I know they're always here and I know I have to keep going for them because they didn't get a chance to. They got it taken away from them and that's something no one should go through ever," Ramirez said.
Clement was booked in the Lafourche Parish jail. His bond is $1,550,200.00 for 3 felony counts of vehicular homicide, his fourth DWI offense, no seat belt, and failure to drive on the right side of the road.
According to the Lafourche Parish District Attorney's Office, Clement has previous DWI offenses in Calcasieu Parish, Ascension Parish, Lafourche parish in 2017 where he was sentenced to 2 years, and now this most recent case.
"You still continue to drive, you're taking peoples lives away and it's not fair," Ramirez said.
She and several other friends have raised nearly $50,000 so far to help all three families pay for the funerals.
A vigil is being held for the women this Wednesday at 8 pm at the Lafon Performing Arts Center in Luling.