LAFOURCHE PARISH, La. (WGNO) — Joey Clement, the man charged in the 2021 drunk driving crash that killed three Nicholls State students, was sentenced to 85 years in prison on Wednesday, Oct. 11.

Judge Hugh Larose, of the 17th Judicial District Court in Lafourche Parish, sentenced Clement to 85 years of hard labor.

He received a 20-year sentence for the fourth-offense DWI charge, five years for the negligent homicide charge in connection with Lily Dufrene’s death, and two 30-year sentences for the vehicle homicide charges in the deaths of Hali Coss and Michaila Bowling. 

Clement was convicted on two counts of vehicular homicide and one count of negligent homicide for the deaths of 18-year-old Hali Cross, 19-year-old Lily Dufrene and 18-year-old Michaila Bowling.

In November of 2021, the three students were heading home, driving on Louisiana Highway 20 in Chackbay when Clement, 39 at the time, crossed the center line and crashed into the students’ vehicle head-on.

The three were pronounced dead at the scene.

Through an investigation, officers discovered Clement had been drinking and was arrested for his fourth DWI. On Jan. 14, 2022, he was indicted on vehicular homicide charges and a count of fourth offense of driving while intoxicated. He entered a plea of not guilty.

Opening statements for the trial began on Aug. 21 with the students’ parents, family and friends present to hear testimonies from witnesses of the crash.

Three days later, the jury returned a guilty verdict in the case leaving Clement to face a possible 95-year prison sentence.

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