Senser knew hit-and-run was fatal, court documents say

Amy Senser
This photo provided by Halberg Criminal Defense law firm taken on Sept. 1, 2011, shows Amy Senser, wife of former Minnesota Vikings tight end Joe Senser, in a Bloomington, Minn., law office. Attorney Marsh Halberg says Amy Senser acknowledges she was the driver of an SUV believed involved in a hit-and-run that killed a pedestrian, in a signed statement to the Minnesota State Patrol Friday, Sept. 2, 2011.
AP Photo/Halberg Criminal Defense law firm

Amy Senser knew she struck and killed a man by the side of the road before leaving the scene of the incident, according to details revealed in court documents, says Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.

The Hennepin County Attorney's office on Monday issued an amended complaint in the criminal vehicular homicide case against Senser.

The complaint details what State Patrol investigators found out about the incident last August. According to the complaint, a witness saw Senser's car exit Interstate 94 onto the Riverside ramp in Minneapolis.

The witness told investigators that the driver of the car had plenty of time to slow down and avoid the victim, who was standing near a vehicle with hazard lights blinking parked on the side of the ramp. Another witness claims the Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle Senser later admitted to driving was weaving and traveling at "inconsistent speeds."

State Patrol investigators report that cell phone records and tower data place Senser near the scene of the accident. The hit and run happened around 11:10. Senser's husband, former Minnesota Viking Joe Senser, called her around 11:47. A witness reported seeing Amy's car drive by the scene around 11:50.

Freeman says Senser came back to the scene about 40 minutes after the accident.

"We believe we have evidence that she came back a second time," Freeman said. "You see all the flashing lights and if you see that — particularly if you drove through there — I mean, she knew she hit something. The evidence is irrefutable."

The State Patrol says Amy called her daughter at 11:08 p.m. just minutes before the hit and run. According to the complaint, investigators believe a number of texts were deleted from Amy Senser's phone.

Senser has been charged with two felony counts of criminal vehicular homicide and criminal vehicular operation. Senser has not yet entered a plea in court, but she is scheduled to go to trial in April.

Her attorney, Eric Nelson, told MPR News that the details in the amended complaint don't change his defense strategy. He says they are not disputing the cell phone records which show that Senser was in the area at the time of the accident, and there's no dispute that Senser's car was involved. But Nelson says the state has to prove that Senser knew what she had done.

"And that has been what we've maintained from the very beginning is that Mrs. Senser did not know that she was involved in an accident involving a person," said Nelson.

Nelson says he'll file a motion to dismiss the charges around the Feb. 3 deadline.