DA to move forward in case of man who bought drunk driver drinks

Outcome of case could set precedent, widening circle of criminal responsibility in DWI matters

By Joel Eisenbaum - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - The Montgomery County district attorney will press forward with the prosecution of a man who bought a drunk driver drinks.

The outcome of the case could set a precedent, widening the circle of criminal responsibility in DWI matters.

"We wanted to look at ways to use the law to make sure everybody is held responsible for their actions," said Warren Diepraam, a Montgomery County assistant district attorney.

Diepraam's office has charged Kambiz Michael Duran, 29, with sale of alcohol to an intoxicated person, a misdemeanor charge usually reserved for bartenders who over serve customers.

Diepraam believes the law can be used to prosecute Duran because, according to a TABC investigation, he bought and delivered three drinks to Nicole Baucus, then 23, minutes before she got into her truck, crashed, and killed two people on June 29, 2012 in Montgomery County.

Baukus received 38 years for the crime. She had driven her truck the wrong way on I-45 when she slammed into a car, killing 19-year-old Nicole Elizabeth Adams and  18-year-old Travis Ryan Saunders.

David Francisco Porras, 22, was seriously injured in the crash.

"As far as I am concerned everybody that contributed to her drunkenness is responsible," said Fred Saunders, Travis' father.

Local 2 legal analyst, Brian Wice said Diepraam's interesting application of the law could work.

"It doesn't make any difference that it was a sale, the law recognizes that a gift is the same thing," Wice said.

Diepraam said that the circumstances in the case are unusual because Duran knew Baukus was very drunk and continued to procure her alcohol.

"It's not like buying a beer for your buddy is going to get you in trouble. It has to be reasonably foreseeable. There's a negligence standard," Diepraam said.

Duran has been charged but not convicted of the crime, with a trial date not yet set.

As of Thursday, he remained in Harris County Jail on an unrelated criminal charge.

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