Judge denies wrong-way drunk driver's appeal for new hearing

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by Andrew Horansky / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on September 26, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 27 at 12:00 PM

CONROE, Texas – A judge in Montgomery County has denied the motion of a woman who pleaded guilty to an infamous wrong-way DWI crash.

Surveillance video showed Nicole Baukus, 23 at the time, consuming 21 drinks before getting into a car and killing 18-year-old Travis Saunders and 19-year-old Nicole Adams in June of 2012. The crash left David Porras, 21 at the time, severely injured.

In a surprising turn of events last month, Baukus pleaded guilty to the crime. But she later petitioned for a new trial.

The victims’ families were outraged.

“It’s turned from sadness to despair to anger,” said Fred Saunders, Travis Saunders’ father. “I think everyone in the family just wants her to accept her punishment.”

Baukus believed her 38-year prison sentence, handed down by a judge, was extreme and that the advice of her attorney was bad.

She also claimed she did not understand the risk of her decision to admit guilt.

The victims’ relatives said she also did not understand the effect a new trial could have on them.

“We realize that it must be difficult for Ms. Baukus to think about spending time behind bars,” said Steve Ziara, a spokesman for the Porras family. “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 the nightmare began.”

A jury could have given Baukus 50 years in prison for causing the wrong-way crash on I-45. But for now at least, she will not be seeing a jury anytime soon.

Baukus has a new attorney. He has said he will appeal and continue to push for a new trial.

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