Expert: Convicting bar patron of giving drinks to driver in deadly DUI wreck hard

August 5, 2013 2:50:21 PM PDT
A woman who pleaded guilty to driving drunk and causing a deadly crash in Montgomery County is headed to prison. And now, prosecutors are leveling charges against a bar customer they say bought her the drinks. But it could be a tough case for them to get a conviction.

In the minutes after Nicole Baukus was convicted for a wrong-way drunk driving accident that killed two people and badly injured a third, investigators said they were going to charge someone else. After looking through the court documents on Monday, we know why they filed those charges.

We now know that on Thursday, the day Baukus pleaded guilty, investigators working behind the scenes filed an arrest warrant for Kambiz Michael Duran. They told us about the warrant Friday night.

"Hold this individual responsible for providing several of the drinks to Miss Baukus that evening," TABC investigator Oscar Williams said.

In that warrant, it's clear that the surveillance video of Baukus consuming more than 20 drinks in a four-hour period before the deadly wrong way crash was critical. But Duran was not a bartender. He was another customer.

The investigator writes, "While reviewing the video I noted a white male deliver three alcoholic beverage drinks to Baukus at 1:38am, 1:43am, and 1:46am. These are the last three drinks Baukus consumes."

And he contends, "While Duran is providing these three drinks, it is clearly evident on the video that Baukus is intoxicated as she is swaying, side-stepping for balance and walking into tables."

And while the charge of providing alcohol to an intoxicated person is a misdemeanor, our legal analyst Joel Androphy says it's likely a hard case to prove.

"It's very unusual," he said. "You're almost trying to criminalize immoral behavior and not all behavior that isn't right is criminal."

Duran is already in the Harris County Jail serving time for a marijuana conviction last month. It's just the most recent of his drug convictions. None of them, however, were on the cutting edge of criminal prosecution like the charge he now faces.

The TABC says the investigation is not over yet. They are still in the midst of a criminal probe into that deadly crash on June 29, 2012.

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