The defense continued its cross examination of Trooper Thomas Erdmann as the fourth day of Ashley Bauman’s drunk driving trial got underway Thursday. Baumann, 26, of Merrill, is charged in connection with a June 7, 2012 accident that left two people dead.
Questioning by attorney Wright Laufenberg centered around evidence Erdmann, an accident reconstruction specialist, collected at the scene and his interview with surviving passenger Jerrica Woller.
Laufenberg asked if Erdmann relied on Woller’s recollection of where the four occupants were seated in the vehicle. Erdmann said he did, but it is only one component of the investigation.
“It was in my opinion very relevant to the investigation,” he said.
He added that Woller provided at least three consistent accounts of where they were seated.
Laufenberg pressed the question that Woller never said Baumann was specifically driving at the time of the crash. There is a short period of time that Woller didn’t remember between getting out of the car to ask Baumann to slow down and waking up in the vehicle after the crash.
“She doesn’t remember the crash,” Erdmann said. “That’s what she told me.”
“She never said Ashley Baumann was driving at the time the car crashed?” Laufenberg asked.
“No,” Erdmann responded.
Erdmann said it isn’t uncommon for people involved in traumatic accidents to not remember the crash right away, but often do remember more as time passes.
Questioning then turned to the vehicle and evidence collected from it. Laufenberg showed numerous photos of the vehicle’s exterior, asking about various spots on the vehicle that were not swabbed for evidence. When Laufenberg asked about spots on the vehicle, Erdmann’s repeated response was, “It’s dirt.”
The car rolled through a farm field and was covered in dirt, Erdmann said.
Erdmann also said it didn’t appear that Woller had wiped the car with her shirt. Asked why the shirt was dirty on both sides, he said, “There’s dirt all over everything.”
He said wipe marks on the side of the vehicle were most likely made by EMS as they were removing Woller from the car.
The jury also heard testimony Thursday morning from the toxicologist who tested Baumann’s blood for alcohol at the State Crime Lab. The alcohol content of blood drawn five hours after the accident tested at .157 percent. The toxicologist calculated that Baumann’s blood alcohol level would have been approximately .24 percent at the time of the crash.
A Wisconsin State Patrol vehicle inspector testified that he had checked Baumann’s vehicle for any signs that a mechanical problem contributed to the crash. While the vehicle had been heavily damaged in the crash, he said he didn’t find any evidence of a pre-existing problem.
The prosecution will continue calling its witnesses this afternoon.