That female driver, 23-year-old Nicole Nadra Baukus, is charged with two counts of intoxication manslaughter and one count of intoxication assault after she crashed into another car with three people inside, killing two of them.
The crash kept DPS investigators well past the morning rush hour and shut down all southbound lanes of I-45 at SH 242 for hours, despite having happened just before 3am. Troopers say Baukus driving a Ford pickup truck entered the southbound lanes of the North Freeway going the wrong direction, by way of a highway exit at Tamina Road. She collided with a car carrying three young people, according to the DPS.
The driver, 19-year-old Nicole Adams, and the front seat passenger, 18-year-old Travis Saunders, died. The backseat passenger, David Porras, 22, survived.
Shenandoah police were already en route to try to flag the driver down, but they were too late. Troopers describe how emergency calls came in as the pickup driver entered the highway going the wrong way.
"We have witnesses stating that there's a car traveling the wrong way. She stopped for some unknown reason, witnesses said they saw her stop and then they saw her proceed to go forward. And then we get another car saying -- we have Shenandoah trying to come up and catch her before anything happens -- and then we get another phone call that said it's too late," said DPS Trooper Erik Burse.
The pickup truck driver was injured and transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital. There's no word on her condition.
Prosecutors say she was drunk at the time of the crash.
"As a result of the wrong-way crash, as a result of the injuries and the deaths, the District Attorney's office has filed three charges in this case: two charges for the fatalities are intoxication manslaughter cases and the other one for serious bodily injury is intoxication assault," said Warren Diepraam with the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.
Diepraam said that Baukus will be placed in Montgomery County Jail sometime Friday. Her total bond is $140,000.
Authorities cleared the scene just before 10am and reopened all lanes.