New charges filed against man who bought woman drinks in deadly wrong-way crash
CONROE, TX (KTRK) -- There are new charges in the case of a wrong-way drunk driver that killed two people on Interstate 45.
Nicole Baukus, the driver was sentenced yesterday for her role in the crash. Now, the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission is looking at holding another person accountable.
In this case, it looks like the TABC going to go after not the person serving the drunk driver drinks, but the person buying them. The agency says it's already filed charges, and is waiting to see what happens.
Nicole Baukus went to jail Friday night, sentenced to 38 years for driving the wrong way on I-45 after a night of drinking and getting into a wreck that killed two people.
Now, new charges have been filed in Montgomery County against the man who bought her several drinks that night.
"Throughout the investigation, we were never able to identify him. No one would ever tell me who he was. We learned who he was through this trial," said Scar Williams with the TABC said.
"It sounds like they're trying to plow some new ground, chart some new territory," said Robert Ray, chief trial consultant with Veritas Research.
Ray says it's a legal move he hasn't seen before. In cases that involve a person who may have been over-served alcohol, additional charges are typically filed against the bartender or server.
"It kind of falls in the same category as when an adult buys juveniles alcohol illegally. Some version of that situation may apply here," Ray said.
"We're going to try something a little different here I believe," Williams said.
Baukus' conviction, meanwhile, does bring some closure to the victims' families. Chris Adams lost his daughter Nicole in the crash.
"I'm happy with the verdict because I felt that it will save a few lives, maybe make people think. But it's just an awful tragedy for everybody," Adams said.
With the possibility that another person could also be held accountable.
"We have a pretty good idea where he's at right now, but until we have him in custody and have a chance to talk and interview with him, I don't know exactly right now. But that night, he appeared to be a customer at the bar," Williams said.
We called the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office to see if anyone had been arrested on the new charges. We have not heard back.
The TABC says if the man is arrested, the first step will be to sit down with him and determine what exactly his role was that night.
local, simon gutierrez
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