MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Amy Senser pleaded not guilty Monday to her latest and third felony charge, after a police investigation determined she was on the phone at the time she allegedly hit and killed a man last year.
Senser faces three counts of criminal vehicular homicide including a charge of gross negligence for allegedly talking on the phone and speeding, according to court documents filed Thursday. She is not in custody. She will be back in court next Monday.
Prosecutors said evidence will show that Senser was on her cell phone when she hit 38-year-old Anousone Phathavong. A crash reconstruction expert said Senser had no reason to be driving as fast as she allegedly was (50-55 mph) on the exit ramp, which was then in a construction zone.
The judge said the jury can decide next week if the combination of those factors is gross negligence.
Eric Nelson, Senser’s attorney, said wanted the charge dismissed, saying the state report showed she going about 40 mph off the ramp.
In response, Deborah Russell, the assistant Hennepin County attorney, said Senser admitted to one of her daughters that she had been drinking the night of the incident. The judge denied the dismissal and Senser plead not guilty to the charge.
Last fall, prosecutors charged Senser with one count of criminal vehicular operation. In January, an additional charge was added, because Senser did not contact police quickly enough. A week after the crash, she admitted to hitting Phathavong.
The charges listed in the last paragraph changed in April to three counts of criminal vehicular homicide.
Phanthavong was hit and killed along the Riverside exit ramp off of Interstate 94 in August last year.
Senser is the wife of former Vikings star Joe Senser.