Amy Senser Charged With Felony For Hit-And-Run

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The wife of former Vikings player Joe Senser has been charged with one felony count of criminal vehicular homicide operation, after a fatal hit-and-run crash in August.

According to her attorney, Amy Senser, of Edina, was driving the Mercedes-Benz SUV involved in the crash that killed 38-year-old Anousone Phanthavong. She is currently in custody and being held on $150,000 bail. She will have her first appearance in Hennepin County Court on Friday at 1:30 p.m.

If convicted, she could face a maximum of 10 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman discussed the charges at a 1:30 p.m. press conference at the Hennepin County Government Center.

Freeman said they believe they have evidence to prove that Amy Senser was driving, that she caused a death and then left the scene. Based on the facts they’ve collected, Freeman said they have adequate evidence to prosecute her.

“One of our challenges here, there are only two people that know what happened that night. One of them, tragically, is dead and the other is exerting constitutional rights not to talk,” Freeman said.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman Discusses Charges

Phanthavong’s family also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Senser family. On Thursday, the attorney for Phanthavong’s family said they are relieved that criminal charges have been filed.

Attorney Jim Schwebel said the Sensers have failed to cooperate with the investigation. His team will continue to investigate until all of the facts of the case are known.

“We want a lot of specific facts,” he said. “We want a jury to feel the full impact of what happened that night.”

According to the criminal complaint, the attorney for 45-year-old Amy Senser contacted authorities at 10:30 p.m. the day after the crash.

Police said Phanthavong was hit and killed around 11 p.m. on Aug. 23 while he was filling his car with gas on the off-ramp of the Cedar-Riverside exit of westbound Interstate 94.

The criminal charges state that Phanthavong was found face down on the ramp, about 40 feet in front of his vehicle, with several injuries to the right side of his body. The complaint also states his shoes had come off and were on the ground between the vehicle and his body.

The attorney for the Senser family, Eric Nelson, led officers to their car and later revealed that Amy Senser was the driver. Investigators noted front-end damage on the passenger side, including on the fender, and what looked like blood on the hood. The criminal complaint states the vehicle is registered to Joe Senser.

“This is a tragedy. This is a tremendously tragic accident. She grieves for the family, that’s her concern at this point, his family. It may not seem that way because she’s exercising her fifth amendment right, but let that be a lesson to all Minnesotans and all U.S. citizens of how important these rights are,” Nelson said.

Multiple parts of the suspect vehicle were left at the scene, including a piece that was identified to have come from a Mercedes, the complaint states.

The vehicle was transported to the Hennepin County Crime Lab and a search turned up a bobby pin, a set of earrings, a bottle, as well as a Mike’s bottle cap inside the vehicle.

On Sept. 2, Amy Senser released a statement to the State Patrol, which read: “I, Amy Senser, was the driver of the vehicle in the accident in which Anousone Phanthavong lost his life.”

“Having a confession from the defendant isn’t a bad place to start. Obviously, we would need more evidence,” Freeman said.

Phanthavong’s cause of death was ruled accidental on Wednesday by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner. He was a chef at the True Thai Restaurant in Minneapolis.

More from Rachel Slavik
  • Try this one

    I have a suggestion for charges that should be brought: MURDER, or at least manslaughter. And then hang her for leaving him there to die while she ran away.

    • Me Ma

      She is a murderer and has no concious to leave a man die in the street after hitting him.

    • Tom

      “Try this one”, Criminal Vehicular Homicide *is* a murder charge.

      • Reasonable

        No it is not. Crime resulting in death isn’t necessarily murder. Murder, as defined by law, requires intent and malice. The driver did not know the victim and did not plan to hit him with the car at that time and at that location. Therefore it is NOT murder. Why is this so hard for people to understand?

    • Reasonable

      Can’t be charged with Murder in this case as the definition doesn’t fit. Murder requires malice and forethought. She had to know that this guy was going to be on the ramp and plan ahead to hit him with her car for it to be murder.
      Also, felony homicde is higher than manslaughter which is just gross negligence.

      Laymans definition of the law:
      In the state of Minnesota, vehicular homicide is one of the six levels of criminal vehicular operation, and is defined as causing the death of a person, that does not constitute murder or manslaughter, as a result of operating a motor vehicle in a grossly negligent manner, or in a negligent manner while in violation of the driving while intoxicated law, or where the driver flees the scene in violation of the felony fleeing law.[5] Vehicular homicide in Minnesota requires, at a minimum, a mens rea of gross negligence.[7

      Felony Hit and Run resulting in vehicular homicide charge would be correct in this case. Also, Joe can get an uncontested divorce and keep everything if she’s convicted.

      • sbrs1

        It’s nice to see that there are “reasonable” people out here! It is not murder. Yes, what she did was despicable but it’s not murder. I do hope they throw the book at her. Possible 20 years and a $20,000 fine is not enough. However, she will still suffer. It’s called karma. She will never be able to work again, Joe will not be able to show his face at his bars, their “national recording artist” daughter will get booed off the stage and Amy will have to wonder for the rest of her life if she had stopped would there have been a chance that he lived? I hope she sees his face every night before she goes to bed, every time she drives a car and every time she gets to spend time with her family knowing the victim’s family will not have him in their lives except as an angel above.

        • jj

          Remember it was Amy who did the deed, is this guilt by association? Everyone else in the Senser family is innocent. You go too far.

        • jj

          Remember it was Amy who did the deed. Is this guilt by association? Everyone else in the Senser family is innocent. You go too far.

          • sbrs1

            I agree, however, it’s the family that is not cooperating with police. Not just her and this is why the rest of the family will suffer.

    • Real Talk

      That is the part i cannot get over. Even if you are driving drunk and hit someone, you still gotta stop, try to help and take the consequences like a man (or woman in this case). The fact you can leave some to die slowly on the side of the road is unspeakable.

      • concerned citizen

        I agree!

      • Mister Self Destruct

        And if you do, this is the only way to get tagged with DUI and change all the charges to more severe ones. The law makes it so running and being caught is a lighter sentence than staying, helping, and getting caught. It is what it is. It doesn’t make it right to leave.

        • jordan

          if you ever hit and kill someone, drive away and hide your vehicle and let the authorities figure it out and DON’T SAY A WORD TO ANYONE!
          Poor little rich Amy Sensor with her big, tall, strong, cash cow hoovering over her like she is the victom…..Who was killed here and who was the killer? The media portrays the Sensers being the victoms!

          • marney

            You are right jordan!! You stated it all exactly right. the media esp WCCO has treated the Sensers like they’re the ones who’ve been wronged, they’re the poor victims. The media have been as silent on this case as they can be and given Amy the kid-gloves approach. Little coverage has been afforded the man who was killed so heartlessly and horrendously. Not much of his family covered at all and how horrible this has been for them. The TwinCIties media have done a very poor job (kmsp better than the rest) reporting on this terrible Senser case.

  • Question...

    So she took off and didn’t call anyone to help. Here is what I don’t get. Didn’t the very next person up the off ramp call the police within seconds after they saw him lying there? Obviously I think this is egregious but that is the question I have.

    • llp

      I don’t why you think it was the next person’s responsibility even if they stopped and called the police which should be their civil and moral duty. Would you hit someone and not stop if not I would question your civility and morality.

    • Partial answer

      His body was some distance away due to the accident or rather getting hit. I have yet to read anywhere that his body was actually on/visbile to a drive by.
      That was a question I thought at first and still not 100% understanding of it …. other than he was not in the traffic lane

      • Guilty

        I know the gentleman that found the body. He said he waas taking the off ramp and slowed down because of the car and noticed a shoe laying in the road, then looked over to the side of the road and SAW A BODY!!. She deserves at least 4 years in jail for vehicular manslaughter. If you are rich you can buy anything, even freedom. I hope her guilt kills her instead.

  • Throw the book at Amy Senser

    I hope she has the book thrown against her. There is no excuse for her to drive off without stopping and calling for emergency responders to come. Her actions of driving off probably killed this guy. Just because she is from Edina does not make her above the law and just because she is the wife of a Minnesota Viking does not give her a pass to freedom. This family has lost a son of which they now must spend years recovering from that lost.

    • Kinda onboard...half of it anyway

      I agree with what you say but don’t make it out to be a class warfare thing.
      If you or I hired an attorney in the same situation it would have played out the same..he protected them until he couldn’t. He did his job as he should have done it and they benefited from OUR laws up until this point in time.
      So she’s not “above the law” but is represented within the law.
      That said I hope they hammer her if in fact she was the driver. If not I hope the hammer the driver if found to be someone else. No one should walk away on this …. no one

      • Jake

        I’m with ‘kinda’ here. Most people who are posting evidently don’t know much about the law, or have ever been in such a situation. I’m not defending the Sensers, just stating FACT. Even the ‘obviously’ guilty have a RIGHT to a FAIR TRIAL, and they have RIGHTS THEMSELVES, regardless of how bad the initial situation looks. So…… let’s all take a deep breath and let this thing play out — certainly the local media are watching this thing closely, let’s not start a riot over a ‘development’ in the case. After all, it wasn’t like she was a big time dope dealer who went postal with an UZI and purposely greased a few innnocent victims. Heck, those people can’t even get the death penalty in this state.

      • anonymous

        Hitting someone – against the law
        Fleeing the scene – against the law
        Not answering questions AFTER flaunting respect for the law – abiding by the law

        This is where our laws lost the value of the creators. When we cared about one another as community members, we valued each other and trusted each of us would do the right thing, even when unpopular.

  • red

    Her actions in all of this is absolutely disgusting! Does she really thing she is going to get away with this?

    • Tom

      “red”, she signed a statement admitting she did it. Did they stall on the advice of an attorney? Sure looks like it but if she signed a confession that’s not trying “to get away with this”.

      • anonymous

        Fleeing the scene….does that qualify as ‘trying to get away with this’ Tom?

        Her statement came 9 days later. If she was so willing to confess, why run? If the family is so filled with integrity, why flee? Why not answer the first 7 days when everyone is asking?

        Actions taken more than a week after the incident do not exonerate the actions performed at the time or immediately after.

    • mwallek

      money does wonders for the right people. A campaign contribution, season tickets, or just cold cash in an envelope and the “fairness” of the system goes right out the window.

  • tillie

    She’s one classy beeeech.

  • Robert

    So was Amy Senser arrested right away after the lawyer said she hit the guy?

  • mike

    Cover Up! WCCO and all Media The charges will be minimal and Freeman will choke and file lesser charges, yet Tom Petters gets fifty plus years, go figure!!

    • Mister Self Destruct

      Tom Petters should have gotten 500 years, and made to sit in the cell for all 500 without burial…

  • jan

    I don’t care what they say, She should have been booked days ago and to imply that her social status had no bearing on this is absurd.

    • come on jan - be smart

      doesn’t-didn’t and that be the way the law and system works.
      she’s no way near the first to have the benefit of all thanks to a good lawyer and our laws here in the USA. Rich and poor alike reap the same provided the keep their mouthes closed UNTIL they have an attorney.
      Justice will likely be served as it was meant to …. if not then raise hell at that point

  • Ah, the pot smoking monkey speaks

    Where do you get your weed? Must be good stuff, eh?

    • Mike Hawk

      Why did your source dry up? I could hook you up but it may be a little more pricey than that ditchy stuff you’ve been getting. On second thought you’re not worthy, have another Mike’s hard lemonade & take a drive in your car.

  • Mary S

    I hope you are being sarcastic. Just because they are well-known is no reason why she should get off free and clear! If anyone else was a part of a hit and run, they would be in jail and facing major consequences.

  • C. Dase

    Hit and run and leaving the scene of a accident she should be in jail . There’s no excuse for not coming forward immediately unless she has something to hide.

    • sure

      exactly – and maybe she was. Charge her and the .insert, walks.
      It played out as it should

  • Charges Coming In Fatal Hit-And-Run « CBS Minnesota

    […] [WCCO] Share this No comments // […]

  • mwallek

    Who is recieving the payola on this case? She needs to go to trial and then to jail like anyone else who killed someone with a car and then ran away. Just because hubby was connected to the gutless vikes is no excuse for getting out of a prison stint.

    • @getreal turdhead

      you been posting on the “send to LA” forum now, haven’t ya….. time to fess up wuss

  • manchild

    Charges will likely be vehicular manslaughter and fleeing the scene. While her actions behind the wheel certainly cost this man his life, it was still an accident – thus the (likely) manslaughter charge which indicates “without intent”.

    • Stunned

      It was an accident when she hit him.
      It was a murderous decision when she left him.

      • Annabelle

        You said it! perfectly!!!!!

    • Michael

      Regardless of the technicalities she needs to go to prison. Careless driving that kills is still criminal and her actions since in not cooperating with the state patrol are reprehensible.

  • Cris Burger

    She had over 24 hours to sober up or get the drugs out of her system (coke, pot, heroin, meth?).

    WCCO needs to fire him – a discrase to be part of this coverup!

  • Cris

    Sorry – disgrace!

  • mwallek

    This is a joke, or Dale is, one or the other.

  • lol

    the drama of these dummies postin’ is what keep me laffing

  • Amy Senser Charged With Felony « CBS Minnesota

    […] [WCCO: Crime] Share this No comments // […]

  • GrandmaJ

    You would be willing to take her place in this mess she created? You would beg to be put on trial for her, server her time? Just cause you are their fans? Or are you their children writing this. Pathetic.
    Great Americans don’t kill someone and think they can get by with hit. Letter of apology does no one any good. She hit him. She did not stop. She went home to hide when she should have called 911. She hurt the family, MN, USA, etc. Senser’s dirtied their own name. Prosecute to the fulllest. Your name or my name would have been in jail with in 24 hours. I would not have left the scene. In fact, how many people drove by this man and his car without hitting him in the first place?
    Did she TAKE AIM? Accident, my – – -. She was not on a single lane country road, dodging cattle on the road. She has not claimed a herd of deer ran across in front of her. She has not claimed another car cut her off.
    YOU are claiming innocent. Were YOU behind the wheel of that car?

    • LMO

      @Dale Griblble I am sorry, but I don’t normally comment on these, but I can’t believe what I just read!! How is she a “HERO”? She killed someone and took off!! And what difference does it make where he is from?!

      • Michael

        Stop wasting our time by posting as a character from the King Of The Hill cartoon. We know Dale Gribble on the cartoon is a no-minded person who threatens our liberties with his idiocy but for you to “have fun” with people while posting this is terrible or in the alternative dangerous if you really believe it. If you really do then go ahead and post your real name wuss.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Familiar with the 1st Amendment much, Michael?

          • Michael

            Absolutely and I also recognize the threat to our liberties posted by groups that would take away our rights by hiding behind secret organizations and closed doors, i.e. the Koch Brothers. So now you’re using another fake name. Must be great to live your life as another right-wing coward with no values unless greed, racism, and ignorance have become values.

  • Johanna Pinckaers

    Which ever daughter she is covering for is very lucky, my mom would never do that for me.

    • Mister Self Destruct

      Dumb comment. There’s nothing to suggest that.

      The Sensers will only make public that which they could not prevent from being made public or that which would be brought out as part of the criminal investigation. Period.

  • Metal DJ

    I thought the daughter was driving?

  • Angus

    What is scarey is some of these “Hang Them High and Damn the Evidence” could end up on a jury. She ispresumed innocent until proven guilty. The system is working but to avoid Texas justice takes time. If and when she is found guilty then comes punishment time. I suspect they may work a deal subject to the court but that could depend on what kind of evidence ther have.
    Everyone is assuming she was drunk/on drugs but we do not know. She may have been and they may have been legal prescription drugs.

  • MJ

    yesssss indeed your the pot calling the kettle black. Go back and edit your comment before you hit submit. Do you mean Iran or Iraq? And they were hikers not hitchhikers. You talk about wearing emotions on your sleeve like 3 year olds, looks like your a little emotional yourself you dumb and ignorant hypocrite.

    • At Michael J.

      A brillian post here MJ by a true fricken snot faced idiot. ;-)
      I suspect you understood the comment and intent . You are still today a pompous prick. Ahhh – I now feel better myself.
      How’s the ex there buddy? She still shacking up with your former best friend? I know Michael — that was kind of low. Me sorry – not

  • Chuck Norris

    And how do we know you’re not?

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