Ex-Vikings Joe Senser's wife guilty of death

May 4, 2012 at 3:24 PM
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MINNEAPOLIS, May 4 (UPI) -- The wife of former Minnesota Vikings football player Joe Senser was convicted of criminal vehicular homicide in the death of a Twin Cities-area chef.

On Friday, the day after the criminal verdict was reached, the law firm representing chef Anousone Phanthavong's family said a wrongful death lawsuit against Amy and Joe Senser was settled, the Star Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis reported.

Jurors Thursday found Amy Sensor guilty of striking and killing Phanthavong with her sport utility vehicle Aug. 23 on a Minneapolis freeway ramp and of leaving the scene without calling for help, the Star Tribune reported.

The convictions brought an end to nearly eight months of public speculation over how much, if at all, Amy Senser would be held accountable for Phanthavong's death.

"It felt like bricks were taken off our shoulders," one of Phanthavong's relatives, Sayaphone Phouthavongsay, said after the conviction was announced.

Phanthavong, a 38-year-old Laotian immigrant, was putting gas in his vehicle when he was struck by Senser's Mercedes-Benz SUV on the darkened exit ramp.

Amy Senser, 45, was convicted of two counts of criminal vehicular homicide for failing to call for help immediately and for leaving the scene. She was acquitted of operating a vehicle in a grossly negligent manner. Under state sentencing guidelines, she could be sentenced to four years in prison. Sentencing was scheduled for July 9.

She also was convicted of misdemeanor careless driving.

Her attorney said he would appeal and Senser remains free on bail.

The Phanthavong family's lawyers provided no details when announcing the settlement.

"No financial settlement will ever replace what the family has lost," the law firm representing Phanthavong's relatives said in a news release. "They will forever be without his kindness, generosity and companionship."

The release said testimony "demonstrated overwhelming evidence of Amy Senser's negligence. She failed to see Anousone Phanthavong's vehicle with its four-way flashers activated, failed to see him standing alongside of his vehicle when he would have been clearly visible in her Mercedes headlights and failed to travel at a reasonable speed for an exit ramp."

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