Defense in wrong-way drunk driving trial of Nicole Baukus changes plea to guilty
Prosecutors say Nicole Baukus killed two people back in June 2012
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas – There are new developments in the trial of a woman accused in a deadly wrong-way crash.
Nicole Baukus is accused of driving drunk on I-45 going the wrong way and slamming into another vehicle, killing two people back in June of 2012.
Late this morning, Baukus' defense attorney asked to change her plea to guilty on two counts of vehicular homicide and one count of vehicular assault.
The move came right after a toxicologist testified that Baukus' blood alcohol content was almost four times the legal limit.
The jury was called back into the courtroom and a tearful Baukus plead guilty.
"I think in light of overwhelming evidence that the defendant saw that the defense, that she was slipped a drug by some unknown person, just was not going to fly with this jury and they really had no choice," said Assistant Montgomery County District Attorney Warren Diepraam.
The legal limit is .08 and the prosecution expert estimated that blood samples taken from Baukus that night was about .30.
The punishment phase of the trial is now underway. Baukus could face up to 50 years in prison. Prosecutors say they will ask for the maximum sentence.
Diepraam said, "We're going to ask the jury to send a strong message to the law abiding community, but also the potential offending community that drinking and driving has tragic consequences."
After she changed her plea, prosecutors began putting on witnesses who said Baukus has continued to abuse alcohol and drugs while awaiting bond, and that last October she caused another wreck, but luckily there were no injuries.
On Wednesday, prosecutors presented surveillance video in court that showed Baukus hanging onto her friends as she kept drinking through the night at the bar called on "The Rox" in The Woodlands.
Court records indicate after nearly five hours of drinking, Baukus consumed 17 shots and four beers before getting behind the wheel of her truck.
State attorney's said it was only a few minutes later when she drove the wrong way on Interstate 45 and then slammed into an oncoming car, killing two people and injuring a third.
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