Essex mom pleads not guilty to DUI crash that killed son

Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 11:31 AM EDT
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WHITE RIVER JCT., Vt. (WCAX) - An Essex mother pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning in connection with an I-89 crash that killed her 11-year-old son last fall.

Forty-six-year-old Dawn Baustert did not speak during her arraignment Tuesday which lasted only a minute. Her lawyer entered not guilty pleas on her behalf to numerous charges including DUI with death resulting and gross negligent operation.

The crash happened in Sharon on the afternoon of November 17th. Court papers state Baustert veered off I-89 into the ledges alongside the highway. Police say her son, 11-year-old Silas Baustert, was pronounced dead at the scene. Two other family members -- Baustert’s husband and daughter -- both survived the crash.

According to court documents, a blood draw from Baustert at the hospital after the crash indicated a blood alcohol content of .228%. A search of her vehicle uncovered six unopened “nips” style alcohol containers in her handbag. Authorities filed the charges in the case last month.

Baustert was released on conditions and followed her attorney out of the Windsor County Courthouse, all parties declined to comment on the charges.

If convicted on the most serious charge, Baustert faces the possibility of 15 years behind bars.

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