By Shereen Siewert
MERRILL – A Merrill woman convicted in the June 2012 alcohol-fueled crash that left two women dead and another woman critically wounded is asking for a new trial.
Ashley Baumann was 24 when police say she drove at speeds of nearly 100 mph in a 25 mph zone on a straight stretch of road when she lost control of her car and crashed, rolling the car multiple times. Misty Glisch, 31, and Jessica Hartwig, 33, both died in the crash. Hartwig’s sister, Jerrica Woller, then 31, survived the crash but was critically injured.
Baumann, who is serving a 7-year prison term after being convicted by a jury, is appealing her conviction. Her attorneys, who did not represent her at trial, filed a 48-page brief last month with the appeals court that accuses her trial attorney of ineffective counsel.
In the brief, Baumann’s new attorneys say that Wright Laufenberg, Baumann’s trial attorney, should have objected to inadmissible statements that prejudiced the jury. Baumann has never admitted to being the driver, and Laufenberg repeatedly suggested she could have switched seats with Woller before the tragedy occurred.
Cell phone photos taken moments before the crash show Baumann behind the wheel of her vehicle.
Baumann’s lawyers also wrote that Laufenberg should have introduced evidence that showed Woller, who died in 2016 in an unrelated incident, received money from a civil lawsuit related to the crash.
Read the entire appellate brief here.
If Baumann’s appeal fails, she will be 33 the day she is due to be released from prison. She will be eligible to reinstate her driving privileges at age 38.
Future court dates have not yet been set.
Timeline of the case
June 7, 2012: Police are called to Alexander Road in Merrill to a report of a single vehicle rollover crash. When they arrive, they find Jessica Hartwig, 33, and Misty Glisch, 31, both of Merrill, dead. Ashley Baumann, then 24, and Jerrica Woller, then 30, both of Merrill, are injured.
Nov. 1, 2012: After a lengthy investigation, Ashley Baumann is charged in Lincoln County Circuit Court with two counts each of homicide by drunken driving and homicide by negligent driving, as well as reckless driving causing great bodily harm and two counts of causing great bodily harm by drunken driving.
Nov. 5, 2012: Baumann appears in court and is released on a $5,000 signature bond after paying the first $500 in cash.
Dec. 19, 2012: At a preliminary hearing, Baumann is ordered to stand trial. She remains free on bond.
Jan. 8, 2013: At an arraignment hearing, Baumann pleads not guilty to all charges.
April 29, 2014: Two counts of homicide by negligent driving are dismissed as final motions are heard before trial begins.
May 5, 2014: The trial begins with opening statements by both attorneys.
May 12, 2014: Closing arguments are given by both attorneys. Jury deliberations begin.
May 13, 2014: Ashley Baumann is found guilty of all charges and is taken into custody until June 5, when she is released on a $10,000 cash bond pending sentencing.
Nov. 4, 2014: Baumann is sentenced to seven years in prison followed by five years extended supervision and is taken into custody.
Nov. 14, 2016: Baumann’s attorneys file a notice of appeal.