The case of the I-45 wrong way driver that happened just over thirteen months ago has just ended it’s second day. This morning prosecutor Andrew James presented a video which was captured from a freeway camera of Baukus entering the freeway at 2:57 a.m. going the wrong way. You can see her tail lights as she travels north bound in the southbound lanes.
An old friend of Baukus’s , Arnes Bucanan from Oak Ridge High School who is in the Marines Reserves and works in the oilfields was southbound on 45 just before 3 am when he saw a vehicle stopped facing the wrong way angled toward him. Thinking it was a police officer he slowed down. As he approached it the vehicle his path at a forty five degree angle to the second lane of the freeway. He was able to hear the acceleration over his truck exhaust. He was able to see only one person in the vehicle as it passed just past his left side, he said it appeared the person was in the passenger seat. He then saw the impact as Baukus hit the victims vehicle. He watched it spin emitting sparks. He pulled over and ran back to the crash. He stated Baukus was still in the vehicle. He then ran back to the car that was struck. He said the driver wasn’t moving and appeared her arm was missing. He was so upset he just went and sat down on the side of the road. He later learned he had gone to school with Bakus.
Huey Mackey was riding with Buchanan and called 911. She told the 911 operator that she was on I-45 right where 242 goes under the bridge. At that point the 911 operator interrupted her telling her they already had reports of the driver going northbound on the south bound. She asked if they were already past the 242. Mackay stated, “no, we are stopped right now, we are on the highway. Once again she was interrupted. The operator told her, “I understand, where did you last see him?’”
That is when MacKay said, “no, this guy jumped straight up the on ramp, the exit ramp, the opposite way on the exit ramp. He just nailed a car”.
Deputy Reuvers who is now a Shenandoah police officer was with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office at the time testified what he had seen as being the first officer on the scene.
Trooper Ortega was first to the scene, Trooper Brack arrived about the same time. He said Baukus was on the passenger side of her truck outside of it being treated by medics.
He explained his observations on Baukus and how he determined she was intoxicated.
Oscar Williams with TABC took the stand and after presenting a time card from Bikini’s Bar on Interstate 45 where Baukus worked was able to form a timeline of her moves. This included her getting off at 5:38 p.m. and meeting her friend Maygen Bates at “On the Rox” at 6:13 p.m.
Williams then went on to explain explained what each drink was and at what time it was served to her. Several of the shots were mixes of Red Bull and alcohol. The two that she drank most of were “Vegas Bomb’s” and “Star F***ers”. He explained that alcohol being a depressant and Red Bull a stimulant and cause the body to react in a way that takes the alcohol longer to feel affects. He noted before midnight most of the drinks were served by wait staff including her roommate Jessica Poitinger, or the bar manager. After that nine of the drinks were from friends including one male who returned to the table with over a dozen shots on a tray. The maximum allowed by TABC is two at a time. In addition she helped herself to a beer from another table.
Williams also pointed out on the video that close to 2 am Baukus stumbled and fell into a table and chair, got up spun and fell into a table.
At 1:58 am she left the bar. As she walks out stumbling and staggering very bad. Which is depicted on camera.
Baukus gets into the drivers seat of her Ford F-150 pickup and a friend Romi Flowers got into passenger seat. They drove about 100 feet stopped and Flowers got out and got into another vehicle.
At 2:02 a.m. Baukus drove out of the parking lot.
Prosecutors still have not been able to determine where Baukus was for almost an hour before entering the wrong way on the freeway.
Williams viewed the 8 hours of video several times and was not able to see anything put in her drink eliminating the possibility of her being drugged.
The trial recessed just after 5:30 pm Tuesday and will continue on Wednesday.
Assistant District Attorney Warren Diepraam said afterwards he was pleased the way the trial was going.
When asked about what Baukus could be facing if found guilty, Diepraam said she can get 2 to 20 years in prison for each of the two intoxication manslaughters and 2 to 10 years for the intoxication assault. If she was given probation she could get up to ten years.
However, Diepraam said if found guilty the judge has the power to stack the sentences. This means, for example, that if she would be given 20 years for each intoxication manslaughter and 10 years for the intoxication assault. Those sentences, instead of running together, concurrent, could be added to each other.
Also since a vehicle is considered a deadly weapon in a case like this Baukus’s maximum sentence could be 50 years. But to be eligible for parole which with a finding of a deadly weapon
she would have to complete at least one of the full 20 –year sentences and then half of the next 20-year sentence before she would be eligible for parole.
MCPR WILL BE COVERING THE ENTIRE TRIAL THIS WEEK
NOTE: CAMERA TIMES BELOW ARE 1 HOUR FAST AS SYSTEM HAD NOT SET FOR DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME.
THESE IMAGES WERE TAKEN FROM OVER 8 HOURS OF SECURITY CAMERA VIDEO AT ON THE ROX AND WERE ASSEMBLED BY TABC AGENT
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE