Amy Senser expected to testify at her trial todayby Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio
MINNEAPOLIS — Amy Senser is expected to take the stand this morning in her own defense during her trial in Hennepin County District Court. Senser, the wife of former Minnesota Viking Joe Senser, is on trial for three counts of criminal vehicular homicide.
Senser is accused of striking and killing Anousone Phanthavong with her car on an I-94 exit ramp in Minneapolis last August.
The charges allege that Senser knew she hit someone and left the scene; that she failed to give notice of the accident by the quickest means of communication; and that she was grossly negligent when she caused the accident.
Members of Senser's family who were called as witnesses by the prosecution last week said Amy Senser didn't tell anyone she was involved in a crash. they also testified that she didn't act like she had just struck and killed someone.
The Sensers have also said the day after the crash they retained a lawyer, who turned the SUV Senser was driving over to the State Patrol.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson argued the Sensers fulfilled their obligation to give notice. And Nelson said at the time of the crash, Senser was not exceeding the speed limit, nor was she driving outside the painted boundaries on the off ramp.
Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Deborah Russell will likely have a lot of questions for Senser when she takes the stand. The state has introduced phone records that show a call was made from Senser's phone just around the time she struck Phanthavong.
Russell will probably ask Senser if she was drinking that night. According to testimony from one of Senser's daughters, Senser admitted to having a sip of something that night. But she denied being drunk.
The state has also entered into evidence an estimate of the damage sustained by the Mercedes Benz ML350 SUV Senser was driving that night. According to the estimate, there was nearly $8,000 worth of damage done to the right front quarter panel and headlight housing. However, the impact wasn't enough to trigger the vehicle's airbags.
Husband Joe Senser testified that his wife told him she thought she hit a construction cone or barrel. A State Patrol investigator testified that the hard plastic construction barrels weigh 33 lbs. and wouldn't cause that much damage.
Court officials say the trial could wrap up Tuesday.
- Morning Edition, 04/30/2012, 7:45 a.m.