Day 4: Amy Senser's youngest daughter testifiesby Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio
MINNEAPOLIS — Amy Senser's youngest daughter testified Thursday that she had no reason to think her mom had been drinking the night Senser struck and killed Anousone Phanthavong.
Hannah Senser, 14, told the court that on the night of the accident, she and her sister, Molly, and two friends tried to reach Amy Senser on her mobile phone. The girls were supposed to meet up with Amy Senser at the end of a concert at the Xcel Energy Center. Amy Senser did not drive with the girls to the concert because she had to work. Instead, Amy Senser planned to get her own ticket and drive the girls home after the show. Hannah Senser told the court that when the concert was over she could not reach her mom.
Unknown to the girls, Amy Senser had left the concert and was a few miles away. Defense attorney Eric Nelson has said she left the concert early because the loud music gave her a bad headache. He said she was on her way back to pick up the girls, but became lost.
Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Dan Beasley testified that Amy Senser tried to call her daughter at a few minutes after 11 p.m., which is just about the time authorities believe Amy Senser struck and killed Phanthavong on the side of a freeway off-ramp.
One of the girls who was with Hannah Senser that evening, Madeleine Hare, 15, testified that Hannah told her that she thought her mom may have been drinking. Hannah Senser told the court she does not remember saying that, and also said she did not have any reason to think that her mom had been drinking.
Hannah Senser eventually reached her father, Joe Senser, who picked the girls up and took them home. Both girls say Amy Senser was sleeping or resting on a couch on the front porch when they arrived home.
Hannah Senser said that the next day she was told by her father about the fatal crash. She said her father might have said that her mom was involved. She said she remembers crying after her dad told her the news. After that, she said the family packed a few things, got in the family's Lexus and drove to Stillwater for the night.
Joe Senser testified that he wanted to protect his daughters from what was going to happen later that day. He knew that law enforcement officers were going to show up at the house in order to take away the Mercedes Benz SUV that was involved in the crash.
Amy Senser faces three felony charges stemming from the hit-and-run on Aug. 23, 2011, that killed Minneapolis chef Anousone Phanthavong, 38. Amy Senser has admitted to driving the vehicle that hit Phanthavong, but her lawyer said Amy Senser did not know she hit a person.
According to the complaint, at a few minutes after 11 p.m., Phanthavong, a chef at True Thai restaurant in Minneapolis, was standing with a gas can next to his stalled Honda Accord along the I-94 off-ramp onto Riverside Ave. State Patrol investigators say Senser struck Phanthavong with such force that his body was thrown 40 feet. Troopers at the scene found auto body parts matching a Mercedes Benz GLK300, an SUV similar to the one driven by Amy Senser. Some of the parts had blood on them. Investigators estimate Senser was traveling at speeds up to 55 mph at the moment of impact.