Danielle Downey, Spencerport native and former LPGA golfer, killed in crash

SAL MAIORANA February 3, 2014

Danielle Downey, who grew up in Spencerport, played professional golf for nearly 10 years, and is one of the finest female golfers Rochester has ever produced, died in a one-car crash Thursday night in Auburn, Ala.

"She was a special gal, and to have her life cut short like this is tragic," said Jon Hoecker, the head professional at Brook-Lea Country Club where he taught Downey for about 15 years.

Lee County Coroner Bill Harris said Friday morning that Downey suffered fatal injuries in the crash. Downey was northbound on Lee Road 57 when she lost control of her car and drove off the road. She was thrown from the vehicle as it overturned several times, Harris said.

The 33-year-old Downey suffered "a massive head injury" and "multiple blunt force impact injuries," he said. Her injuries were too severe for her to be airlifted from the scene and she was taken by ambulance to the East Alabama Medical Center.

"Aggressive efforts to save her were unsuccessful," Harris said in a news release. Downey died from her injuries as she arrived at the hospital emergency's room, just before 11 p.m., Harris said.

Downey was born Dec. 6, 1980 in Rochester and raised in Spencerport. She became one of the most decorated athletes at Spencerport High School, competing on the girls' basketball team and boys' golf team.

She was named All-Greater Rochester in basketball, and received the Spencerport Sports Booster Club award and the Selendar award as the senior academic athlete of the year, and the outstanding senior athlete.

"Danielle is one of the best student-athletes in our history at Spencerport," said athletic director John Pelin. "She was one of the most competitive and mentally tough athletes that I have seen in my 35 years. It's difficult to grasp when a person is taken from us so tragically and young, and we are all so proud of her success and contributions to our Ranger family."

Downey played much of her golf in her formative years at Brook-Lea and Hoecker helped mold her game. "She did a lot of special things," Hoecker said. "She was one of the best competitors I ever met; she was a gamer. When it came down to the bell ringing, she was ready to play."