Friends, co-workers remember Elon University employee killed in hit-and-run crash

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ELON, N.C. -- The man accused of striking and killing 46-year-old Anton Downey with a vehicle appeared before a judge for the first time Monday afternoon.

Tyler Laplace, 21,  is charged with driving under the influence, felony hit and run and felony death by a motor vehicle.

Laplace's lawyer, Clay Plunkett, declined a comment on the charges. Laplace's next court hearing is set for June 25.

Meanwhile friends, family and staff are remembering Downey's life.

Elon University held a gathering honoring the employee of 18 years inside the Numen Luman Pavilion. Message of love, gifts and candles were left near the Autobell car wash where the deadly crash happened Saturday on South Church Street.

Former co-worker and friend Trinity Taylor said she was in shock after learning of his death, especially since she had just seen him hours before.​

"I had just hugged him Friday night probably about 10 o’clock​," Taylor said.

Taylor and Downey worked together for nine years when she was a pastry chef at Elon University. Now she holds tight to the memories.

"Phenomenal chef, one of the best. If you wanted a steak and you wanted it done right you needed to go to him," Taylor said. "I never saw a smile not on his face. He was ready for a bear hug every time he saw you."

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