UPDATE: Suspect in Double Fatal Crash Pleads Not Guilty

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

A 25-year-old Merrill woman accused of causing a crash that killed two people while driving drunk pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Lincoln County Court.

Ashley Baumann is charged with two counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, two counts of homicide with a prohibited alcohol concentration, two counts of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle, causing great bodily harm by use of a vehicle with a prohibited alcohol concentration, and reckless driving.

Jessica Hartwig, 33, and Misty Glisch, 31, were killed during the June 7 crash.

According to the criminal complaint, the surviving passenger, Jerrica Woller, 29, warned Baumann about her reckless driving minutes before the fatal crash.

Woller told investigators she jumped out of the car at a stop sign on the corner of Mill Road and Heldt Street because she was so frightened at how fast Baumann was driving. Woller says Baumann told her she would drive safer, so she got back in.

They crashed just minutes later on Alexander Street, near Heldt Street on Merrill's west side.

It happened around 3:30 am when Baumann lost control of the vehicle and continued into a farm field at a high rate of speed.

The vehicle rolled several times and ejected Hartwig, Glisch and Baumann. Data retrieved from the car showed the vehicle was traveling at a rate of speed of 92-99 mph at 100 percent throttle in the seconds leading up to the crash.

Nearly four hours after the crash a blood draw was performed at the hospital to determine Baumann's blood alcohol concentration, which was found to be .157 by the state crime lab. It's nearly two times more than the legal limit for driving.

She is free on a $500 cash bond and a $4,500 signature bond. A judge ordered her to have no contact with the victims' families or the survivor, Jerrica Woller. She may also not consume alcohol or enter a bar.

Glisch's parents, Edward and Jean Glisch, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baumann and her insurance company, American Family Mutual Insurance. They're demanding a money judgment.

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