State patrol expert reconstructs Amy Senser's fatal hit-and-runby Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio
MINNEAPOLIS — After detailing the size and estimated speed of Amy Senser's Mercedez SUV, and the height and weight of the man her vehicle struck and killed last August, an accident reconstruction expert for the Minnesota State Patrol testified Friday that the impact would have felt more powerful than just striking a construction cone.
Senser's husband, former Vikings star Joe Senser, previously testified that she believed she struck a cone or barrel on the night of the crash on an I-94 exit ramp in downtown Minneapolis.
Anousone Phanthavong was standing on the ramp as he prepared to put gas in his car when he was hit.
Amy Senser is charged with three felony counts stemming from the Aug. 23 crash.
Senser was driving a Mercedes-Benz ML350 that night. Sgt. Paul Skoglund of the State Patrol said the vehicle has a curb weight of 4,705 pounds. Phanthavong was 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighed about 130 pounds. Skoglund said the ramp was dark, but Phanthavong would have been illuminated by the right front headlight of the Mercedes. And he said the impact would have made a lot more noise than if Senser had hit a hollow, hard plastic construction cone or barrel.
Skoglund provided a demonstration by kicking over a cone and a barrel that were brought into the courtroom. He said the barrel weighs about 33 pounds.
Skoglund testified that when the SUV struck Phanthavong, about 40 percent of his upper body would have been above its hood. He estimated that Phanthavong's body was accelerated forward at a speed of up to 37 mph and flew 50 feet.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson has said Senser didn't know she struck a person on the night of the crash. The prosecution has to prove to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Senser knew she struck a person and left the scene. They are also trying to prove that Senser was driving in a grossly negligent manner.
DAUGHTER: MOM WASN'T DRUNK NIGHT OF CRASH
Earlier in the day's court proceedings, Molly Senser 16, said she knew her mom wasn't drunk on the night of the Aug. 23 crash.
Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Deborah Russell asked her how she knew.
"Because I saw her," Molly Senser said.
Russell asked if she had ever seen her mom drunk before. Molly Senser said she hadn't.
Molly Senser also said much later after the crash she asked her mom directly if she had been drinking. Molly Senser said her mom told her, "I had a sip of something, but I wasn't drunk or anything."
Molly said she didn't ask more questions because her mom told her she couldn't talk about it. And she said she respected her moms wishes.
On Thursday, Sandra Delgehausen testified that Amy Senser texted that there was an accident the night before, that it was a nightmare and that she would not be able to talk about it. Delgehausen testified in Hennepin County District Court that Senser told her to find out more about it in the news.
Investigators say 45 text messages from Senser's phone were deleted or are missing from that day.
- All Things Considered, 04/27/2012, 5:20 p.m.