Baumann bound over for trial
The Merrill woman charged with nine felony counts in connection with a fatal June car crash was bound over for trial in Lincoln County Circuit Court Wednesday.
Judge Jay Tlusty found there was probable cause for Ashley D. Baumann, 24, to stand trial on the charges which include two counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle.
The single vehicle crash occurred June 7 on S. Alexander St. in the City of Merrill, killing Jessica Hartwig, 33, of Merrill, and Misty Glisch, 31, of Merrill. Baumann and another occupant of the vehicle, Jerrica Woller, 29, of Merrill, were severely injured in the crash.
At Wednesday’s preliminary hearing, the prosecution, headed by Assistant Wisconsin Attorney General Tara Jenswold, relied on testimony from Merrill Police Department Investigator Pat Wunsch.
Wunsch testified that crash analysis and information retrieved from the vehicle’s control module indicated the vehicle was traveling anywhere from 84-96 mph just prior to the crash.
The Wisconsin State Patrol Technical Reconstruction Unit was requested to provide assistance with the crash investigation and crash reconstruction process. The investigation led law enforcement to the determination that Baumann had been the driver, Wunsch said.
Wunsch recounted statements made to law enforcement by the other crash survivor, Jerrica Woller. She had told investigators that Baumann was driving the vehicle when they left a Merrill area tavern early that morning. Woller told police that Baumann was driving too fast, Wunsch said, and at one point shortly before the crash Woller got out of the vehicle. After confronting Baumann about her driving, Wunsch said, Woller got back into the vehicle and they continued on. The crash occurred within a mile of where Woller said they had previously stopped on Heldt Street.
When police responded to the scene, they found Woller seated in the front passenger seat of the vehicle. The three other occupants had been ejected as the vehicle rolled over multiple times into a field. Woller told police she crawled out of the back seat, where she had been seated during the crash, got out of the vehicle and then got back into the front seat when she heard sirens.
Wunsch said that in addition to Woller’s statements, physical evidence in the vehicle pointed to Baumann as the driver. Other physical evidence helped investigators determine where the other occupants were seated in the vehicle, Wunsch said.
Defense attorney Wright Laufenberg said he didn’t feel the state had met the standards for probable cause, but Tlusty disagreed.
An arraignment hearing has been set for Jan. 8, 2013.