LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A Tahoka woman is facing twenty years in prison after she pleaded guilty for failure to stop and render aid.
47-year-old Karen Follis was charged in November of 2008 for failure to stop and render aid in the death of 25-year-old Kristine Bufkin of Lubbock. A passing driver discovered Bufkin's body underneath the Loop 289 overpass at Southeast Drive.
Authorities revealed that Bufkin wrecked her car along F.M. 1729. Investigators believe she was not severely injured by the wreck and started walking down the road for help. That's when they say Follis hit her near east 50th Street and then dragged her body with the vehicle to Southeast Drive.
According to the arrest warrant, Follis told police that she thought she hit a dog or a deer, but other witnesses report Follis called them for help. The warrant states when the witnesses arrived at Southeast Drive, they saw Bufkin's body hanging from the truck.
A Lubbock police detective testified that toxicology reports revealed Bufkin had alcohol and amphetamines in her system.
In a witness testimony on Monday, Erasmo Rodriguez, one of the men that Follis called for help, said that he and another man helped Follis after she hit Bufkin, and he described removing Bufkin's pant leg from the truck antenna, freeing the body and allowing it to drop to the ground.
Rodriguez said in court that he and his friend Grant Sims met Follis under the Loop 289 overpass near Southwest Drive and helped her dislodge the body from the 1990 Ford Ranger Follis had borrowed from a friend, then they left the scene without calling police.
Both Rodriguez and Sims were granted testimonial immunity, that they would not be prosecuted for their role in tampering with the crime scene evidence.
A student from Post discovered Bufkin's body the next morning as she drove into Lubbock. She called police. Follis was arrested three days later.
According to testimony Follis' cellmate, Megan Anderson, said that Follis told her that she was drunk and didn't want to get a DWI, so she didn't stop. She also testified that Follis told her that she would have gotten away with it if someone hadn't ratted her out.
Follis did not enter into a plea agreement and she opted for Judge Brad Underwood in the 364th District Court to decide her punishment after hearing the evidence. Prosecutors presented their case on Monday, and the defense is expected to present their evidence on Wednesday morning.
Follis faces 20 years in prison after acknowledging she had a prior felony drug conviction from 1995. In 2008, she was jailed on a $100,000 bond.
Bufkin attended Monterey High School and South Plains College.
NewsChannel 11 will be in the courtroom on Wednesday and will bring you the latest at kcbd.com and on the news at Noon, 5, 6, and 10.
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