On June 20, 2012, a Harris County jury returned a $2.26 million verdict against a drunk driver that caused a 2010 crash that killed one and severely injured another. Houstonian, Angela Maxwell, was driving home with a friend from church on August 25, 2010 when her vehicle was hit by a SUV driving by Gina Wiggins. Hermalinda Rico was the passenger in Maxwell’s vehicle that died from her injuries as a result of the collision. Although Maxwell survived the incident, her injuries have forced her to walk with a cane, and she has not been able to return to work.
Jurors in the 215th District Court of Harris County are reported to have deliberated for approximately six hours prior to returning the $2.26 million dollar verdict. The evidence at trial showed that the drunk driver, Wiggins, left work early in the afternoon and that she had been drinking alcohol that day. The evidence also showed that her BAC was 0.21 following the crash, which is nearly three times the legal limit in Texas when operating a motor vehicle. The eye witnesses testified that Wiggins was swerving down FM 2100 prior to colliding head-on with Maxwell’s and Rico’s vehicle.
Despite this verdict and the clear signal sent by this jury – on Friday, June 29th, Nicole Baukus was arrested after killing two and injuring another while driving drunk on the wrong side of the freeway. This collision occurred when 23-year-old Baukus drove northbound in the southbound lanes of I-45 near Highway 242 around 4 a.m. Baukus was charged with two counts of intoxication manslaughter and one count of intoxication assault.