SEPTEMBER 26, 2006
JOEL GORDON RETIRES FROM MCSO
SEPTEMBER 26, 2006
WILLIS -TEXAS NATIONAL HOUSE FIRE
SEPTEMBER 26, 2007
TRUCK RUNS OFF FREEWAY OVERPASS AT CRIGHTON ROAD
SEPTEMBER 26, 2013
JUDGE DENIES BAUKUS NEW TRIAL IN WRONG WAY DRIVER CASE
Thursday morning Judge Michael Seiler was presented with a Motion for New Trial presented by the appeals attorney for Nicole Baukus, the woman who took two lives and injured another last year in a head-on crash on I-45.
Baukus, who was convicted and given 38 years in prison last month filed the motion on several grounds. Most involved the way her court-appointed attorney Michael McDougal defended her case.
Mr. McDougal met with prosecutors on September 16th and since he was named in the motion legally could discuss his strategy for her defense.
Her appeals attorney’s this morning filed additional documents, delaying the decision of Judge Seiler until he was able to review them. He made his decision in chambers and posted his decision just after noon.
In her motion, she makes several points against her attorney and also claims cruel and unusual punishment.
She also claims that she was denied the ineffective assistance of counsel because her plea of guilty and true to her indictment was involuntary and she was denied an impartial trial.
Mr. McDougal responded that he was appointed in January 2013 to her case and advised her to start going to the Resource Center. Both her and her father that McDougal was not approaching the case in the right way and she was not guilty because she was not driving at the time of the crash. Mr. McDougal never called Peggy Heath who operates the Recovery Center to the stand. He learned Baukus had gone to several sessions and then quit going which would not be beneficial to her defense.
She also said the voir dire of the jury panel was flawed. Mr. McDougal stated that after talking with the juror’s several thought rehabilitation was more important than punishment.
Baukus claimed she was drugged by some type of “date rape” drug which the doctor had not found in her system. Diazepam was found in her system but was ingested 20 to 24 hours before her blood was taken approximately 5 hours after the crash.
In her affidavit, Baukus refers to persons of interest. However, those persons did not give Baukus any drinks prior to midnight which was less than 5 hours from when her blood was drawn. McDougal decided to wait until the State’s toxicologist testified. When he testified that the Diazepam had been in her system at least 20 to 24 hours which agreed with the other doctor’s findings McDougal penned a note to Baukus, were dead” is what it read.
That is when on day 4 McDougal met with Baukus and her family about how the diazepam had gotten in her system, nobody had an explanation. McDougal then suggested changing her plea to “guilty” as it would possibly have a more beneficial effect on the jury than continuing with a defense that was certainly not plausible and would cause the jury to view Ms. Baukus in a harsher light.
McDougal said, “we thoroughly discussed this change of strategy and everyone, Ms Baukus and her family, were aware of the punishment possibilities that Baukus faced.”
He also advised Baukus to plead true to the finding of the deadly weapon, the vehicle, due to the massive amount of evidence the State had produced. He felt a plea of true to the deadly weapon allegation was the appropriate plea to make to be in conformity with the plea of guilty. McDougal felt this would be appropriate to lessen the punishment the jury would give Baukus.
As Prosecutor Warren Diepraam pointed out, the judge admonished Baukus and asked if she understood the ramifications of her plea after explaining them to her.
McDougal said Baukus was reluctant to testify but he put her on the stand. He felt her reasons were not validity based. Baukus told McDougal she didn’t’ want to testify because she did not want those spectators in the courtroom, including her mother and father, to see the nude pictures of her which were displayed in her phone records which the State had introduced as evidence. He felt such evidence was minimal in comparison to the effect Baukus’ testimony would have in swaying the jury to the less severe punishment.
As it turned out, everyone involved, including Baukus was satisfied that her testifying was beneficial to her case.
David Porras, the lone survivor in the vehicle Baukus hit was also in court this morning. After the judge viewed the motion and announced her would make his decision at the noon hour,
Steve Ziara, the future brother-in-law to David Porras presented a statement for the family.
This morning we attended a hearing on a motion for new trial where we learned that Nicole Baukus is seeking an appeal and a new trial after pleading guilty to Intoxication Manslaughter in the deaths of Nicole Adams and Travis Saunders and Intoxication Assault in injuring David Porras. Ms. Baukus made the decision to drive after 21 drinks and now
that she is changing her mind on accepting responsibility we feel that it is necessary to speak up and address Ms. Baukus and her decision to proceed with an appeal.
We realize that it must be difficult for Ms. Baukus to think about spending time behind bars, but we want her to know that an appeal of her conviction will cause us to relive the stress and uncertainty that we have felt on a daily basis over the past 15 months since our nightmare began. We respect Ms. Baukus’ right to a fair trial and due process but
her actions can only be perceived as a refusal to face the consequences of her decisions.
Upon completion of the trial, we had anticipated and hoped for the healing process to begin. Our faith tells us that forgiveness is a part of that process, and while it may be difficult to imagine right now, we believe that given the chance, forgiveness can occur. However, the
The possibility of another trial will force all those affected by Nicole’s decision to drink and drive to re-live the horrific details of the accident that changed our lives forever.
We respect the laws and judicial system of the State of Texas, and we will not oppose or protest due process, which is a right of all citizens of this great state and our great nation. Nor will we suggest punishments in excess of those clearly outlined in the Texas Penal Code. We have faith that justice will eventually prevail, but in the meantime, we are left
with no choice but to ask that Nicole Baukus take responsibility for the pain and suffering she has caused and abandon her plans to move forward with an appeal.
We would like to invite anyone that wishes to honor Nicole Adams and Travis Saunders memory or show support for our family to attend the Walk like MADD event at North Shore Park in The Woodlands on October 5th at 8 am.
Fred Saunders, father of Travis Saunders who was killed in the crash was also in the courtroom this morning. He said the first trial was the most emotionally draining thing that has happened since the accident. He said it was just like going through it all over again. He said, “now she is filing an appeal and everyone is throwing their hands in the air again.” He did say there is due process in this country and you do have a right to an appeal. But he believes morally he does not have a right to an appeal. Especially after what has happened and the evidence she had seen. In addition to the pain, she saw in every family member and friend that were affected by the case.
He said her claim to cruel and unusual punishment is nothing compared to what happened to the victim’s children. Doing this in a head-on accident while you were driving while under the influence. He said, “if she was in a third world country she would experience cruel and unusual punishment.”
He said the healing process has turned from despair to anger. Saunders said he feels everyone in the family wants her to accept her punishment and the fact that she didn’t get the maximum and to go ahead and try her own healing. “She needs to get some forgiveness from the Almighty and she needs to seek out forgiveness from these families.”
Just after noon Judge Seiler’s Court Clerk posted Judge Seiler’s ruling. It read, “Motion Denied”.
As Fred Saunders stood reading the judges decision he said, “that’s pretty awesome, that’s very awesome. I’m going to FaceBook this thing and let everyone know the judge did the right thing.”
According to Warren Diepraam, Judge Seiler did have the option to not act at all on the motion and after 75 days, as per law, it would automatically be got to the Ninth Court of Appeals in Beaumont. As it stands now it will now be forwarded to the Ninth Court of Appeals.
SEPTEMBER 26, 2013
TEEN SENTENCED FOR INTOXICATION MANSLAUGHTER
Thursday, 19-year-old David Wiggins, pleaded guilty to the offenses of Intoxication Manslaughter (2nd-degree felony) and Intoxication Assault (3rd-degree felony) in the 359th District Court of Montgomery County. Wiggins will serve three years in prison, followed by 10 years of intense community supervision.
In the early morning hours of December 23, 2012, Wiggins and his 17-year-old passengers, Benjamin Brown and Sean Fontenot, left a party at a residence on Keenan Cut-Off Road in west Montgomery County. The trio headed west on Keenan Cut-off at a high rate of speed en route to another party. As they entered a curve in the roadway, Wiggins lost control of the vehicle and went off the road, striking a steel power pole on the south side of the roadway. Brown, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, was killed on impact with the pole. Fontenot, the backseat passenger, suffered serious injuries and was transported to Conroe Regional and later released. Wiggins was also transported for his injuries.
The Texas Department of Public Safety investigated the crash and determined that Wiggins had been drinking alcohol prior to driving his vehicle. Wiggins consented to a blood sample and his blood-alcohol level was found to be a .146, almost twice the legal limit of .08. Wiggins was subsequently charged with Intoxication Manslaughter and Intoxication Assault, both felonies, for his actions.
As part of the agreement, once Wiggins completes his prison term and begins the 10 years of community supervision, he will pay thousands in fines, court costs, and supervisory fees, undergo strict drug and alcohol treatment, complete community service hours. He will also have a two-year driver’s license suspension, maintain an ignition interlock on any vehicle he drives, and pay thousands of dollars in restitution to the victims’ families. In addition, twice each year, Wiggins will speak to students at local high schools on the dangers of driving while intoxicated and how his poor decisions led to the death of one of his best friends, Ben Brown. Wiggins also made a donation to the Ben brown Scholarship Fund. If Wiggins fails to comply with any of the terms of his community supervision, he faces up to 10 years of additional prison time.
Prosecutor Tyler Dunman said, “There are no winners in this case, the Brown family still mourns the loss of their son, and David Wiggins is headed to prison as a 19-year-old kid. Nonetheless, this case exemplifies the absolute dangers of drinking and driving, especially among young, inexperienced, drivers. Our office hopes that parents of young drivers will use this tragic case as an opportunity to discuss the dangers of drinking and driving with their children.”
The family of both victims played a big part in the outcome of this case. They are forgiving of D.J. Wiggins and realize he was only 18 at the time of the crash. They wanted him to have a second chance at being able to tell his story to others about the dangers of drinking and driving.
Wiggins also provided a statement in open court taking responsibility for the crash and apologizing for his actions.
Some of the alcohol was provided by a parent of a juvenile while at the party. She was identified as 50-year-old Diane Kinsey, of the 19200 block of Keenan Cutoff. Wiggins was then allowed to leave the party, just before the crash.
Dunman said there is a greater responsibility of parents in the community in making sure these types of things don’t happen. They shouldn’t be providing alcohol to minors, period, and if they were to do such a thing- which is illegal- heaven forbid, they allow them to get in their vehicles and drive away.
Furnishing alcohol to a minor is a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine.
SEPTEMBER 26, 2013
SISNEY REARRESTED IN COURT FOR AUTO RIPOFFS-$1 MILLION BOND
On Friday, August 16, the Montgomery County Auto Theft Task Force and the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office swooped down on Richard Sisney, owner of Sisney Auto Repair on Loop 494 in Porter. Richard Sisney was taken into custody on a third-degree felony charge of theft in an amount greater than $20,000 but less than $100,000.
On February 2, 2010, Pat Quinn who resides in British Columbia, Canada found a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro displayed for sale on the website known as Racing junk.com. It was offered for sale by Richard Sisney who owns Sisney Auto Repair on Loop 494 in Porter. The vehicle was advertised as Top Sportsman Bickel Built with a 598 engine. It included a Dart Big Block and Sonny Leonard Dart heads. It was listed as mint condition with electronic shifter and bead lock wheels.
After seeing the ad Quinn offered Sisney $46,000 for the vehicle which Sisney accepted with the agreement that Quinn would wire $29,000 to Brenda Sisney’s bank account at the First Bank in Trust of East Texas. Brenda was the wife of Robert Sisney.
Quinn then contacted John Harrison, a motor vehicle appraiser, to inspect the vehicle. After the vehicle was inspected by Harrison and photographed several material discrepancies were found. It was at this point Quinn contacted Sisney for a refund.
Sisney who earlier said the deposit was 100% refundable then told Quinn after he learned of the discrepancies that Quinn already began purchasing the vehicle and his only choice was to fulfill the obligation and pay the remaining amount due.
Quinn hired a civil attorney who was not able to get the deposit returned either.
Montgomery County Auto Theft was contacted and started an investigation. The detective contacted Melvin Bickel, owner of Bickel Brand Race Chassis. The vehicle was advertised as being a Bickel. After reviewing the information Bickel stated that the vehicle in question was not a Bickel built race car. He also stated a large amount of the information in the original ad was false.
Friday morning Sisney appeared in Judge Case’s courtroom and was arrested again after many more victims of Sisney came forward.
Montgomery County Sheriff’s Detective has spent countless hours investigating Sisney and his prior complaints over the years. Most of which included in the court papers.
Michael Myers went to Sisney on February 26, 1999, and paid Sisney $30,000 to restore a 1955 Chevrolet Bellaire which Sisney promised to return to showroom condition in six months. When Myers went to pick the vehicle up it was in pieces and off the frame. He was forced to take it to a second mechanic.
In March 2001 Harry Craig asked Sisney to sell a 1986 Chevrolet Sprint for him for $1,000. Later the vehicle was gone and not paid for. A detective assigned to the case back then stated in a report that he contacted Sisney and was shown an invoice for $1,053. He told the detective he had spent 960 hours working on the vehicle but would return the money as Craig was a friend and a customer. Sisney told the detective Craig was mad at him as he wouldn’t let another car pass inspection.
On November 22, 2005, Gary Ball found a 1969 Camaro and a 1966 Chevrolet pickup missing from his barn and reported them stolen. .Detective Neeley discovered Sisney filed a mechanics lien on Balls vehicle on May 6, 2011, and that Sisney stated on the lien it was for $285 worth of work done on Balls vehicle on January 4, 2004, the day Sisney filled out the work order the vehicles were still in Balls possession, and the signature was forged on the invoice.
Montgomery County Sheriff’s Detective Neeley verified that the vehicle was set to be shipped to a buyer in Australia by Christian Polazzo. Polazzo told Neeley that in February 2012 he wired $40,000 in cash to Sisney’s part of the agreed price of $75,000 that he and his partner arrived at in order to buy the vehicle they assumed had a clear title. Ball denied taking any vehicles to Sisney’s shop and didn’t even know him. Neeley also discovered the transfer of the title from an individual known only as “Joe King” was done in a fraudulent manner by Sisney to start the process of obtaining a clear title to ship the vehicle overseas.
On November 29, 2006, Danny Fant and his fiancé paid Sisney $2,700 to work on their 1968 Chevelle and another $1,300 on January 30, 2009, to install a new brake system. After the work was not done Fant’s fiancé Nikki Lecompte sued Sisney in JP Court and in April 2010 went to recover their vehicle, that when Sisney told her he required another $1,000 in parts or he would not return the vehicle. Sisney never refunded a cent to them.
On March 29, 2007, Bobby Posinski took a 1957 Chevrolet to Sisney to be refurbished and paid Sisney $37,000. He later found his vehicle in a paint shop in Crosby in very poor condition.
On April 1, 2008, Jay Perez purchased a Camaro from Sisney and had to continually return to the shop to get the vehicle fixed as it wouldn’t run properly. Then on May 15, 2011, Perez paid Sisney $3,200 to install a new engine. When the son of Perez drove the car to Lubbock within a few days and was forced to take the car to a mechanic there. That mechanic informed Perez the engine in the vehicle was in fact not new. When detectives checked the confidential number on the engine they verified it was the same engine as when the vehicle left the factory… Over the period of time from 2010 to 2011 Perez paid Sisney $3,400 for repairs that were not done or done poorly.
On October 25, 2010, Floyd Guillory paid Sisney approximately $1,590 to install eight new injectors on his Chevrolet truck and a new injector pump. Later Guillory verified that six of those injectors were used and in bad condition. His vehicle never ran correctly and Sisney never refunded his money.
On May 7, 2012, Diane Jones went to Sisney Automotive and paid $8,500 for a 1949 Ford. She wrote the check to Brenda Sisney at Richard Sisney’s request. Jones was never given the title to the vehicle. Jones noticed the signatures on the title transfer did not match and Sisney lied numerous times to her on who the owner actually was. At one point he told Jones the owner was Glen Brady who Jones discovered had been deceased over a decade. Sisney also told Joes, “I have friends in high places, so you better watch your step”.
After Sisney’s arrest on August 16, 2013, and the plea of Detective Neeley and Assistant District Attorney Rob Freyer to the general public to come forward if they had been victims.
Since that time Detective Neeley has taken at least twelve complaints from area citizens.
One from Gary Dugat who on June 1, 1990, bought a 1968 Chevelle from Sisney for $4,500 and was told the title was in a lock-box at the bank. Sisney then left and did not return. Again the next day Dugat confronted Sisney who got in his truck and drove off. Dugat discovered the vehicle was owned by an 81-year-old woman.
The list continues and involves thousands of dollars.
Prosecutor Rob Freyer is once again asking the public to come forward if they had any ill dealings with Sisney.
Sisney remains in the Montgomery County Jail on a charge of Aggregate Theft.
Freyer said that combining these cases Sisney who is currently on a $1 million bond is looking at 5 to 99 years behind bars for ripping off the good people of Montgomery County.
They are asking anyone who has been taken advantage of by Richard Sisney or Sisney Automotive to contact Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department Detective Neeley at 936-538-7736
SEPTEMBER 26, 2014
MONTGOMERY FOOTBALL CROWNING
Montgomery — Hundreds of motorists sat parked on SH 105 Friday night for over an hour due to a possible intoxicated driver in a pickup rear-ended a Jaguar at the intersection of SH 105 and Walden Road. Many don’t realize this intersection lies within the city of Conroe jurisdiction. With heavy traffic, Conroe Police had to make their way to the scene before working the crash. Wreckers were then called to respond from the Conroe. The scene was finally cleared and traffic was once again to flow. However many of those sitting in traffic was now also mixed with the motorists going to the Montgomery High School Homecoming. That included the 18-wheeler loaded with the band equipment. As traffic crept along the game started on schedule at 7:30 pm. With three minutes remaining in the first quarter, Westfield was finally relieved as their equipment truck turned into the stadium. With halftime coming up fast the students rushed to unpack equipment and prepare to take the field at halftime. Being that it was homecoming night for Montgomery they had some extra time to prepare.
Halftime began with the crowning of the homecoming king and queen. Each of the four runners up of both the king and queen was introduced. It was then that Colton Webb, a student with Down Syndrome who is loved by many and is also the manager for the football team and one of the runners up was announced as Homecoming King. The crowd roared in applause and the smile across Colton face was priceless.
After several photos, Colton said he needed to help the guys get ready for the second half and was assisted in removing his crown to head to the locker room.
Colton’s mother Shelly Webb said it was amazing at this school to see the students so accepting and love and take care of him every day, to allow him to participate in football and make him feel special. As a mother, she said it is wonderful to see your child that happy.
Colton’s dad said it was a special thing, “he loves the football, the school, all the kids up here, it is just great”. He said you didn’t see this longtime ago so it is really special now.
Montgomery fell to Westfield with a score of 20 to 6.
SE[PTEMBER 26, 2015
SPEEDING CAR CRASHES AND JUMPS BAYOU
Just after 3:30 am Saturday a driver was northbound on Almeda Road at a very high rate of speed. As he approached the intersection of South McGregor near the Texas Medical Center he lost control, went sideways hitting a utility pole. The pole was sheared off at the base with power lines falling. His vehicle continued over the curb, and struck a steel grille protecting a water line over the bayou. His vehicle then slid across the pipe before launching more than 150 feet across the bayou. The car came to rest just above the water level and wedged into a concrete culvert flowing into the bayou. The driver was able to crawl out of the vehicle but as EMS evaluated him discovered some possible internal injuries. Houston firefighters rigged a rescue basket and line and were able to pull him up the steep incline, He was transported to Ben Taub Hospital in serious condition.
A heavy-duty wrecker was called in to winch the vehicle out of the bayou.
SEPTEMBER 26, 2015
HPD PURSUIT AND CRASH OF ROBBERS CAR-ELLA AND W. 34TH-HOUSTON
Just after 530 Saturday morning, a report of a robbery at gunpoint was made by a person at an apartment complex in the 6400 block of Antoine. Houston Police responded and as they arrived were told the suspect was still in the complex burglarizing a vehicle. As police approached the suspect fled in his white 2005 Ford pickup. They went north on Antoine through Inwood Forest to Breen the eat to West Montgomery. He then traveled south on West Montgomery to West Gulf Bank. This is the same corner that houses Houston Police North Shepherd station. They then traveled west on Gulf Bank to Alabonson, south to Little York, and west to Hollister. At Hollister, they traveled south to US 290 where the driver entered the freeway and headed toward Houston. He exited at Antoine and went north to Pinemont then west to T.C. Jester. and south on T.C. Jester. As he approached the railroad tracks officers were able to deploy spikes, blowing out several tires. The driver got to 34th and went east to Ella. It was at Ella that he t-boned a female in her 2006 orange Nissan. The driver of the truck was trapped as the vehicle caught fire. Houston Police using fire extinguishers were able to extinguish the fire and get him out. The truck also struck and destroyed the traffic control box and landed on top of a fire hydrant without breaking it off. The female was transported to the hospital in stable condition, the truck driver was transported with an injured back. The 26-mile chase lasted 25 minutes/
SEPTEMBER 26, 2015
HOUSTON HOMICIDE-3300 OLD SPANISH TRAIL
HOUSTON — A man was shot and killed last night in a night club parking lot in southeast Houston last night.
Homicide investigators were on the scene this morning at the Turning Point night club on Old Spanish Trail and Allegheny.
Houston police say an argument broke out between two groups of men and they exchanged gunfire. One man was shot and killed. Another person was transported to the hospital. Another person was shot in the arm at the scene, but refused medical care, police say.
This isn’t the first deadly shooting at this bar. Early last year a man was killed after two men opened fire at club-goers outside of the club.
SEPTEMBER 26, 2015
WILCREST APARTMENT FIRE IGNITED BY PALM TREE
SEPTEMBER 26, 2015
TWO CRITICAL AFTER BENNETTE ESTATES MOTORCYCLE CRASH
About 8:30 pm Saturday night Caney Creek Fire Department responded to a motorcycle crash on Calhoun Road in the Bennette Estates Subdivision off FM 1314. They arrived to find a motorcycle had left the road in a curve and traveled into a pasture. Both the male and female were in critical condition with head injuries. Both were transported to Conroe Regional Medical Center.
While the crash was working residents both coming into the subdivision or leaving were forced to sit in traffic. This included several 18-wheelers from the sandpit behind the subdivision. Caney Creek unit that responded was from the Lone Star Station, The Bennette Estates Station was blocked by the traffic and was on the opposite side of the crash scene.
For several years residents have voiced their opinions on the dangers of just one entrance and exit. Complaints also include the 18-wheelers and dump trucks running 24 hours a day through the neighborhood. Had there been a house fire or medical emergency in Bennette Estates, emergency equipment would not have been able to respond. Several times in the past a truckload of sand has rolled over in the curve or at one of the intersections. This closed the subdivision off to residents for hours.
SEPTEMBER 26, 2016
AUTO PEDESTRIAN FATAL CRASH ON FRAZIER-CONROE
Just after 9 pm, a 55-year-old woman was walking on the shoulder of the road in the 4500 block of North Frazier when she was struck and killed by a northbound driver. Frazier was closed until just after 1 am as Conroe Police investigated the crash along with the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office Vehicular Crimes Unit. Officials are awaiting results of blood work to determine if the driver was impaired. Neither has been identified yet.
SEPTEMBER 26, 2017
MONTGOMERY 20-MILE PURSUIT
Just after 11 p.m. Tuesday night the Montgomery Police was on his way home when he was passed by a silver 2003 Mustang traveling at a high rate of speed eastbound in the westbound lane of SH 105 near April Plaza,. The Chief initiated a pursuit. After a short distance, the driver pulled over but refused to exit the vehicle. He then drove off at a high rate of speed east on SH105. With Montgomery County and DPS assisting the chase got to speeds of 150 mph. The driver then traveled south of I-45 and tried to ram a trooper. Trooper Kenneth Hiebert who is one of the troopers in Montgomery County to execute a pit maneuver was able to catch up to the fleeing vehicle. The driver exited and reentered the freeway several times. As they traveled south on the southbound feeder over the San Jacinto River Hiebert was able to perform a pit maneuver which caused the vehicle to hit the wall and become disabled. The driver then tried to flee on foot but was tased. He was transported to Conroe Regional Hospital to be evaluated. The driver had an open warrant for DWI and is believed to have been intoxicated again Tuesday evening. The pursuit lasted 20 miles.
SEPTEMBER 26, 2020
TAYLOR ORGANIZATION CAR SHOW AND PARADE IN EAST MONTGOMERY COUNTY