Judge allows questions about Amy Senser's alcohol use

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

A Hennepin County judge has ruled that some questions about Amy Senser's alcohol use may be raised during trial.

Judge Daniel Mabley ruled that while prosecutors will not be able to ask witnesses about Senser's general alcohol use, they will be able to offer evidence of alcohol use by Senser on the night of Aug. 23, 2011. That's when prosecutors say Senser drove her Mercedes-Benz SUV into a man who was fueling his car on the side of a freeway ramp, killing him.

Prosecutors also say Senser told one of her daughters that she had been drinking on the night of the crash. They also believe she was using her phone at the moment of impact.

Senser's attorney Eric Nelson has said any claims that Senser was impaired that night are "pure speculation." He said Senser was not aware she was in a crash and reported it to authorities after she discovered damage to her car the next day.

Mabley also ruled that prosecutors will be allowed to show videos from the State Patrol that depict pedestrian/vehicle accidents with the help of crash-test dummies. The judge also ruled that Nelson will not be able to introduce crash victim Anousone Phanthavong's toxicology report results. Nelson said the results show Phanthavong had a significant amount of cocaine in his system on the night he was killed.

Senser is charged with three counts of felony vehicular homicide. Her trial is scheduled to start next week.

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