The family of convicted drunk driver Nicole Baukus has hired attorney Randy Schaffer to appeal her case for a second time.
Shaffer says Baukus was not adequately represented during her first trial, in which she pleaded guilty. He has filed a motion for an evidentiary hearing and is requesting to cross-examine investigators at the crash scene. His ultimate goal is a re-trial.
A jury convicted Baukus of driving the wrong way on I-45 back in September 2012 after a night of drinking 21 alcoholic beverages at a bar in The Woodlands. Her truck collided head-on with driver Nicole Adams. Adams, 19, and her passenger, 18-year-old Travis Saunders, were killed in the crash. Another passenger, David Porras, then 22 years old, was critically injured.
Schaffer says police dash-cam shows a 7-second video clip of Baukus standing with her back to the camera, “wearing two tennis shoes. The same as when she left the bar.”
Shaffer says the first two law enforcement officers at the scene — one from the Shenandoah Police Department and the other from the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office — order Baukus to sit in the middle of the road. He says at one point, Baukus removed her shoe and a bloody sock to relieve pain from a broken foot. Shaffer alleges, “the left shoe and sock that she had taken off the in the road, end up getting planted in the driver’s floor board.”
Shaffer says the law enforcement officer tampered with evidence to frame Baukus as the driver and make a quick arrest in the case. He said prosecutors never proved Baukus was the one behind the wheel.
The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office refutes Schaffer’s claims, stating the Office is “confident that Baukus was the driver and the sole occupant of her vehicle. The Office believes that Baukus’s claims of misconduct are without merit.”
Fred Saunders, the father of one of the victims, says he vehemently agrees with the DA’s Office.
“This is a last-ditch effort to exonerate somebody who is clearly guilty,” he said.
Saunders said he cannot bear the thought of another trial.
“To see the wreckage again and to hear what my son went through…he saw it coming. He was not asleep,” he said.
Baukus is currently serving a 38-year sentence. She is not eligible for parole until she serves 19 years in prison.