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DWI charges stack up, bond revoked for driver accused in Frisco coach's crash: Records

Bond revoked for driver accused in Frisco rock-climbing coach's crash
Bond revoked for driver accused in Frisco rock-climbing coach's crash 03:03

SHERMAN -- Brandi Branson's ability to bond out of jail hit a roadblock. District Judge James P. Fallon revoked bond following a hearing Thursday afternoon.

According to Grayson County court records, the 39-year-old was indicted on burglary and theft charges last October. Branson was out on bond for these charges when she got arrested for a Feb. 1 crash where the Texas Department of Public Safety said she hit Frisco coach Kim Puccio's vehicle head-on.

"She saw huge headlights coming for her. And so she tried to swerve left to avoid them. And that's the last thing she remembered," Cassandra Puccio-Gehring said.

Puccio-Gehring said her mother works at Canyon's Rock Climbing in Frisco several days a week. Her mother is a former waitress turned respected rock-climbing coach.

Investigators said "Coach Kim," as she's known, was driving home to Oklahoma on Hwy 289 in Grayson County when the collision with Branson happened.

According to troopers, the impact sent her vehicle into the lane of oncoming traffic, where a passerby tried pulling the coach from her car. But another vehicle hit Coach Kim head-on again before the rescue was complete. The mother of three became a victim of someone authorities said should not have been driving.

"She didn't even have a license," Puccio-Gehring said. "It was suspended. She should not have been behind the wheel of a car."

Coach Kim survived the double crash in the ICU for 10 days with a laundry list of injuries. Puccio-Gehring said her mother had cuts across her head, blurred vision from a bloody retina, a punctured lung, and 10 fractures, including a broken nose, her wrists, hands, shoulders, arms, and internal injuries.

For the crash, Branson faces DWI and a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. She was arrested and bonded out of jail.

"She should have been behind bars, and she wasn't," Puccio-Gehring said.

A justice of the peace agreed when Grayson County prosecutors asked for the bond, less than $20,000, to get reconsidered. The coach's family and prosecutors believed Brandon's record demonstrated a disregard for compliance and a danger to those on the road. Branson went back to jail on a $750,000 bond.

Grayson County Court records show Branson faces other DWI charges. One charge from Sept. 5, 2022. Then, less than a month later, on Oct. 1, the 39-year-old was arrested for DWI again.

Branson, an assistant manager at a Gunter store, got a third DWI charge on Jan. 9, 2023, followed by an indictment for burglary and theft on Oct. 16 and a resisting charge.

Coach Kim's case is the latest arrest for DWI. That's four arrests for that charge in less than two years.

"She's baffled that this lady isn't already behind bars when she wasn't complying with her jail constrictions as it was," Puccio-Gehring said.

According to court records, none of the cases have gone to trial. So, the instances remain a probable cause for allegation and arrest. Branson, who testified on Thursday, said she started to drink again to celebrate her marriage last November.

She said her job at the store in Gunter was still waiting for her. The DWI suspect also assured the court her husband would drive her to and from work.

But prosecutors pointed to 11 missed tests on her vehicle's breathalyzer in December. And court officials acknowledged they had no way of knowing she wasn't drinking in January and February until the accident with Coach Kim.

Branson said she could not afford the device because it got quoted to her $100 less than she started paying monthly to meet her legal obligations.

Also, during testimony, prosecutors said Branson admitted to using THC and taking benzodiazepines, which she claimed were prescribed.

Prosecutors also pointed to multiple theft convictions in numerous counties, an example of Branson's disregard for chances.

Due to the judge's order, Branson has to remain in jail until trial for her charges.

At Branson's request, her attorney declined to comment on the case. Grayson County District Attorney Brett Smith said he could not speak on the pending cases.

Puccio-Gehring said Coach Kim was home from the hospital and a post-treatment facility.

"So trying to figure out how to maneuver with no use of her hands right now," she said. "And just letting the pain settle in and fight through it."

Branson did not have insurance to cover the crash. Coach Kim had no medical coverage. The family launched a GoFundMe because her medical bills and regaining her life will be the steepest path the rock climbing coach has ever had to make.

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