Chackbay man found guilty of Nov. crash that killed three college … – Houma Courier

After six hours of deliberation, a Chackbay man was found guilty Thursday of the killing of three women in a DUI car crash.
A six-person jury found Joey Paul Clement, 40, guilty of two counts of vehicular homicide and one count of criminal negligence for the Nov. 20, 2021, deaths of 19-year-old Lily Dufrene, 18-year-old Hali Coss, and 18-year-old Michaila Bowling, all of Luling.
Clement already pled guilty to driving while intoxicated. This is the fourth time he has been found guilty of drunken driving.
Sentencing is set for October 11, 9 a.m. where he faces five to 30 years for his fourth DUI charge, 10 to 30 years for each count of vehicular homicide, and up to five years for the criminal negligence charge.
The trial began Monday in the Thibodaux courtroom of Judge F. Hugh Larose. It was prosecuted by Jason Chatagnier and Shawn George. Clement was represented by Public Defenders George Ledet and Tracy Schwab.
As the verdict was read, a great tension fell over the room. As the first “guilty” was spoken, the crowd relaxed.
“Yes,” a father from the crowd said as low as he could muster and clenching his fists.
Over the course of the four days, prosecutors argued that Clement was speeding while intoxicated. The defense argued that the girls entered Clement’s lane and caused the accident.
During his closing statement, Chatagnier dismissed the defense’s argument as irrelevant.
“Where in the law does it say I must prove Joey Clement caused this crash?,” he asked. He argued the speed and intoxication contributed to the girl’s deaths, “He’s not in a Formula One car, not a stock car, he’s in a Ford F 150.… The girls never stood a chance.”
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The wreck occurred on LA 20, and the road remains wounded to this day. Jurors were taken to the scene to inspect it. The gouges in the asphalt and a memorial for the girls are still there.
“If that Mazda didn’t cross that center line, this accident never happens,” Ledet said in his closing argument. “I don’t care if Joey Clement was on every drug known to man.”
Jurors did not side with Ledet, and were also tasked with deciding, based on evidence provided, just how intoxicated Clement was. Blood tested by crime labs set his level at two times the legal limit.
Prosecutors provided evidence, through expert opinions, that they said showed Clement’s level to be three times the legal limit.
He had also taken Adderall and Zoloft prior to operating the vehicle.
The jury determined his level was at 0.15.