UPDATE: Testimony ends in fatal crash trial - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Testimony ends in fatal crash trial

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MERRILL (WAOW) - A Merrill woman on trial for a deadly crash in Lincoln County did not testify in court on Friday. Ashley Baumann, 26, would not take the stand.

Authorities say she was driving when her car went off the road, killing two women, almost two years ago.

But the defense says Baumann was not behind the wheel.

The defense called its crash reconstruction expert, Scott Rhode, to the stand.

He says the state's report wasn't thorough enough.

He says the evidence makes it unclear who exactly was in the driver's seat at the time of the crash.

"What you end up is saying I can't say to a degree of certainty how this accident happened, just like in any another case the goal is to try to the best of your ability to determine what happened, but sometimes you can't it's simply inconclusive," said Rhode.

The defense later called the Lincoln County coroner, Paul Proulx, to the stand to explain the suspected seat belt marks found on the bodies of the victims.

The prosecution responded, saying it isn't up to the coroner to determine who was behind the wheel.

"You would agree that it's not your determination, your job to necessarily tell definitively where people were sitting in a car in a crash," said Tara Jenswold, a special prosecutor, assisting the Lincoln County district attorney.

"That's correct," said Proulx.

"You agree that's the ultimate responsibility of the scene investigators the crash reconstructionists?" said Jenswold.

"Correct," said Proulx.

Soon, this case will be up to the jury.

The defense rested its case Friday afternoon.

Closing arguments are scheduled to begin Monday and after that it will be up to the jury to make a decision.



MERRILL (WAOW) - Testimony ended Friday in the trial of a Merrill woman accused of drunken driving in a crash that killed two of her friends and injured a third one. 
 
Ashley Baumann, 26, did not take the witness stand in her own defense before a judge recessed the trial for the weekend, following five days of sometimes-emotional and scientific testimony.

Closing arguments are planned Monday.

Baumann is on trial for seven felonies, including two counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, in the June 2012 rollover crash that killed Misty Glisch, 31, and Jessica Hartwig, 33, following a night of softball and drinking.

Prosecutors used experts in accident reconstruction to contend Baumann was driving when the vehicle went out of control. Her attorney argues the evidences suggests she was not driving.

Investigators have testified that Baumann told them she remembers drinking the night of the crash but not driving.

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Pictures taken minutes before a deadly crash in Lincoln County took center stage in court Thursday.
 
Ashley Baumann, 26, is on trial facing numerous felony charges including homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle. Authorities say in June 2012 Baumann was driving when her car went off the road, killing two women. But, the defense says Baumann was not behind the wheel. 
 
During testimony a detective with the Marathon County Sheriff's department told the court a series of photos were taken from Misty Glisch's cell phone minutes before the crash. Glisch, 31, died in the crash. Another woman, Jessica Hartwig, 33, also died. 
 
Prosecutors say those pictures place Baumann behind the wheel. But, the defense says the car wasn't moving. 
 
Earlier in the day Jennifer Honkanen, a DNA analyst with the Wisconsin State Crime Lab.
 
Honkanen told the court there was hair stuck in the back passenger windowsill and hair embedded on driver side windowsill.  Based on the physical evidence, Honkanen says she was able to determine who that hair came from. 
 
"In looking at your report you were also able to determine the source of DNA of item AP, which is, according to your report, a hair from the driver side window,” Tara Jenswold, a special prosecutor assisting the Lincoln County district attorney said. “Who was the source of DNA on that hair?” asked Jenswold.
 
“Ashley Baumann was the source of that DNA," answered Honkanen. 
 
During cross-examination defense attorney Wright Laufenberg asked Honkanen about the hair found on the rear passenger door.
 
“There were three brown hairs there, correct?” he asked. 
 
“Correct,” she answered.
 
But, the lab only tested one of the hairs.
 
"Unfortunately or fortunately, you were not able to get enough of what you needed to do analysis on that, correct?” asked Laufenberg. 
 
“There was no roots observed on these hairs so I could not attempt DNA analysis,” said Honkanen.
 
Earlier, the defense fired questions at a crash reconstruction specialist, Thomas Erdmann. Erdman told the court the only other survivor, Jerrica Woller, never told him specifically who was behind the wheel when the car went off the road. 
 
“All the testimony, every witness interview with Jerrica,  but never once has she said that Ashley Baumann was driving at the time of the car crashed?” asked Laufenberg.
 
“No," Erdmann answered. 
 
A toxicologist with the Wisconsin State Crime lab in Madison testified Thursday. Molly Ross told the court that a sample of Baumann’s blood taken more than five hours after the crash showed a blood alcohol content of 0.157 percent. 
 
Ross testified that Baumann’s blood alcohol content would have been higher when the crash occurred. 
 
“It would have been 0.212 percent to 0.294, with an average of 0.239 percent,” said Ross.
 
The defense is expected to begin calling its witnesses Friday morning. The jury is expected to start deliberating on Monday. 
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