On Tuesday, the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office announced that Juan Luis Bautista, 32, has received another three years added to his original six and a half year prison sentence, for an alcohol fueled crashed that has left a 21-year-old Franklin Township woman in a coma for the last 10 years.
On Sept. 16, 2003, Bautista crashed his SUV into a Ford Mustang being driven by Christina Applegate who suffered severe head trauma, leaving the young woman comatose.
Bautista was charged with aggravated assault, assault by auto, driving while intoxicated, and without a license or insurance.
Despite the fact that Bautista was in the country illegally, he was released on $35,000 bail, a little more than a week after being charged.
Bautista failed to show up for court on June 4, 2004, at which time a warrant was issued for his arrest.
On Dec. 16, 2010, Bautista was arrested in Puebla, Mexico.
In a highly unusual example of cooperation between Mexican and U.S. law enforcement, Bautista was actually tried and convicted for the Franklin, NJ, crimes in a Mexican courtroom.
On July 4, 2011, Bautista was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for causing grave bodily injury to Applegate, with an additional four years for using a false driver’s license.
However, the prosecutor felt the sentence was too short, considering the injury to the victim and appealed the case.
The Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office, recently released the following statement:
In a decision reached 1/27/13 by Mexico’s Sixth Circuit Appeals Court, Bautista’s original 6 ½ year term in a Mexican prison was extended to 9 ½ years, according to information the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office received this week from the California Department of Justice. Bautista also was ordered to “repair the damages caused to Christina Applegate.” The California agency assisted the GCPO in translating Bautista’s criminal file into Spanish and forwarding it to Mexican authorities, enabling them to issue an arrest warrant for Bautista, Mexican-born and a Bridgeton NJ resident at the time of the 2003 crash. Bautista failed to appear at a 6/4/04 Woodbury NJ court hearing. Efforts to locate him in South Jersey were unsuccessful and the investigation turned to his native Mexico.
When originally sentenced, Bautista was also ordered to pay a fine of 8,060 pesos ($612.91).
Applegate was married at the time, but is now being cared for by her father in another state.
"Her medical expenses exhausted a $250,000 policy through her car insurance in only a year’s time," according to The Daily Journal.
Applegate's condition remains unchanged.