Trooper: Alcohol involved in Auburn coach's crash

Danielle Downey, the director of golf operations at Auburn, died Thursday night in a single-car accident in Auburn, Ala. She was 33.

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Alcohol was listed as a factor in the Jan. 30 car crash that killed Danielle Downey, Auburn's director of golf operations, according to the report filed by the investigating trooper with the Alabama Department of Public Safety.

Toxicology results have not been completed.

According to the report, Downey, 33, had been drinking with some friends at Hamilton's, a restaurant in Auburn, Ala. Diana Ramage, a golf teammate of Downey's at Auburn, said in the report that Downey arrived at Hamilton's before her friends and "had a few beers prior to her (Ramage's) arrival." Downey then had "two to three more beers" and "appeared to have had too much to drink," Ramage said, according to the report released Monday night.

Ramage was waiting for a ride from her sister and offered Downey a ride and tried to take Downey's keys from her. Downey said she was "fine and that she was tired of waiting on a ride," Ramage said in the report.

According to the investigation by Trooper Jacob G. Smith: Downey's 2011 Hyundai Sonata was traveling north on Lee Road 57 near Auburn at a high rate of speed when it left the road "for an unknown reason." The vehicle hit a small tree, slammed into a culvert and went airborne before overturning several times and ejecting Downey, who was not wearing a seatbelt.

A witness told the investigating trooper that Downey's vehicle passed her on the two-lane road at a high rate of speed and returned to the northbound lane before leaving the roadway.

Downey was pronounced dead in the emergency room of East Alabama Medical Center at 10:58 p.m., about an hour after the accident.

Downey, a three-time All-American at Auburn, was runner-up in the 2002 NCAA Championship before playing on the LPGA. She had stepped in during an emotionally difficult time for the women's program last season as head coach Kim Evans dealt with ovarian cancer. Under Downey, the 14th-seeded Tigers advanced out of the East Regional to the NCAAs. Auburn finished sixth at the NCAA Championship.

According to Auburn, Downey is survived by her parents, Mike and Phyllis Downey, and sisters Erica Setzer, Melissa Sage and Shawna Tomasso.

Auburn announced that it will hold a memorial service at 3 p.m. Feb. 13 on the scholarship terrace of Auburn Arena. There will also be a visitation Wednesday and a funeral Thursday in Downey's hometown of Rochester, N.Y., at times to be announced, according to the university.

• Read senior writer Beth Ann Nichols' column on Danielle Downey right here.

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