Attorney for Amy Senser files motion to dismiss charges

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's attorney filed a motion Friday in Hennepin County District Court asking the court to dismiss two felony charges of criminal vehicular homicide against her.

Attorney Eric Nelson said the charges against his client should be dropped because Senser was unaware that she had struck and killed a man by the side of a freeway off-ramp Aug. 23, 2010.

In court documents, Nelson said evidence provided by the state fails to establish that Senser knew that she caused bodily injury or death.

The court documents also stated that the victim, Anousone Phanthavong, had a high level of cocaine in his system at the time of his death. His autopsy showed he had .60 mg/L of cocaine in his body and that a person with this level of intoxication is "likely to be moving erratically and unpredictably."

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In January, the County Attorney's office issued an amended complaint with cell phone records that placed her near the scene around the time of the incident during which Phanthavong was struck as he filled his car with gas on an Interstate 94 ramp.

Phanthavong was found lying face down on the ramp about 40 feet in front of his Honda Accord. His shoes had come off on impact, and he was dead when State Patrol troopers found him at about 11:10 p.m. that Tuesday.

County Attorney Mike Freeman said the evidence also showed that Senser returned to the scene about a half an hour later. Freeman said he believed the evidence was 'irrefutable' that Senser knew what had happened. The state has two weeks to respond to the defense motion. The trial is scheduled to begin in April.

Amy Senser, is the wife of former Minnesota Viking Joe Senser.

Nearly 24 hours after the incident, Senser's attorney called the State Patrol, notifying them that the vehicle involved in the incident was parked at Senser's home in Edina. Troopers then towed the Mercedes ML350, which had damage to the front passenger side, a broken headlight and fog light. The front passenger fender was also dented and there appeared to be blood on the hood, the complaint said.

Senser did not admit to being the driver until more than a week later, on Sept. 2.

MPR reporters Elizabeth Dunbar and Rupa Shenoy contributed to the story