Phanthavong family files lawsuit against Amy and Joe Senser for fatal hit-and-run

Categories: Crime
Thumbnail image for amy senser.JPG
Amy Senser hit-and-ran, but hasn't cooperated with authorities.
Amy Senser, the wife of restaurant owner and former Vikings star Joe Senser, has not been arrested after admitting guilt in the hit-and-run accident that killed Anousone Phanthavong. But the Phantahvong family isn't waiting to seek its own justice.

The Phanthavong family filed a lawsuit this morning against the Sensers for the accident, in which Phanthavong, the head chef at True Thai restaurant, was filling his car with gas alongside the road when Senser's Mercedes SUV hit him.

A lawyer representing the Senser family eventually contacted the State Patrol and acknowledged that Amy Senser was the driver, and that the car driven in the accident could be found in the Sensers' garage.

Jim Schwebel, the attorney bringing the Phanthavong family's suit, told City Pages that the lawsuit comes in part thanks to frustration over how the Senser family has stonewalled the investigation.

"The Senser family has really put a lid on this," Schwebel said. "There's a lot of frustration in the community, with people thinking that the rich and powerful don't have to answer for what they've done."

Joe Senser's playing career with the Vikings ended early, in the mid-'80s, but he's since gone on to own four Joe Senser's Sports Theater restaurants in Twin Cities suburbs. Senser is also a sports media personality, calling college football games for WCCO.

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Joe Senser owns several sports-themed restaurants.
As evidence of the Senser family's unwillingness to cooperate on the case, Schwebel made reference to the fact that the Sensers waited until 10 days after the accident to send a one-sentence fax acknowledging that Amy Senser was the driver, and had fled the scene.

Among the things Schwebel said the family wants to come out at the trial are whether Senser was drinking at the time of the accident -- a Mike's Hard Lemonade cap was reportedly found inside the car -- and if she was alone in the car. Schwebel said the lawsuit would force some of these facts into a courtroom whether the Sensers decide to cooperate with authorities or not.

Beyond bringing facts to light, the case could also force the Sensers to pay for Amy's crime in a different way: The lawsuit is seeking damages against Senser "greater than $50,000," a blanket legal term which means there's no ceiling on what amount the jury might give the Phanthavongs.

Schwebel said the family was seeking "whatever a jury is willing to award, given the facts of the case," but said the Phanthavongs were still grieving, and not thinking about money.

"They only want fairness," Schwebel said of the Phanthavongs. "This is a first-generation immigrant family that does not have a lot of experience with the American system of justice, and they're frustrated."

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25 comments
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tuf
tuf

drunk,guilty.

tuf
tuf

i bet she was drunk, why else run from scene?

Jordan Starr0119
Jordan Starr0119

I find it funny that every time I tried to comment on "Giveherthecharlolomg" ignorant post, I kept getting shut down... anyway, as ignorant and unthoughtful as your post was.... imagine if it was your husband/wife, son/daughter, sole provider... that was hit and left to die.  I am sure you wouldn't be as light hearted as you are in your post.  The fact is whether Amy was drunk or not, or simply just not paying attention, she hit the guy and left the scene and faxed in a note a week later.  Anyone that is not in the media eye would have been arrested upon the fax, no investigation would have been done while they chilled at home.  Anyone else would have been chilling in jail while the investigation was done.  She admitted fault what part of that don't you get?  I hope the family you speak so ill of gets triple what you assume they will get and blow off... Your ignorance is shameful and your heart is forever going to be filled with hate until you learn to let go of your racist ways... I don't know either side, but I do know right from wrong an Amy leaving this man on the side of the road to die was bluntly wrong....  

Red Jr.
Red Jr.

I suggest you read what they said again, you're really jumping to conclusions here, and letting the emotional value of this incident blind you. 

How is that person racist?  They didn't say a single thing about the race of the person.  They appear to only be commenting that they are mostly against people being able to sue for money, in the case of wrongful death.  They have a problem with someone else "getting rich" because someone died.  How much is your life worth?  How much is mine?  Why do some get more in these cases?  Obviously this has to do with the circumstances and who the guilty party is, but let's face it, the amount of any settlement that is paid from Amy Senser is effectively the amount that the jury feels the life of the deceased is worth. 

Nowhere do they say, "Amy Senser should get off scott free."  They specifically say that in their opinion, it is likely that they will only slap her on the wrist, with some community service.  They don't say that is what Amy deserves, they are pointing out they feel that is what will happen.

 

Fjordtime
Fjordtime

For the person who posted 'charge her with what?', well, she could be charged with this for starters (see sub item 7):

609.21 CRIMINAL VEHICULAR HOMICIDE AND INJURY.    Subdivision 1. Criminal vehicular homicide or operation; crime described. A person is guilty of criminal vehicular homicide or operation and may be sentenced as provided in subdivision 1a, if the person causes injury to or the death of another as a result of operating a motor vehicle:    (1) in a grossly negligent manner;    (2) in a negligent manner while under the influence of:    (i) alcohol;    (ii) a controlled substance; or    (iii) any combination of those elements;    (3) while having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more;    (4) while having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, as measured within two hours of the time of driving;    (5) in a negligent manner while knowingly under the influence of a hazardous substance;    (6) in a negligent manner while any amount of a controlled substance listed in schedule I or II, or its metabolite, other than marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols, is present in the person's body;     (7) where the driver who causes the accident leaves the scene of the accident in violation of section 169.09, subdivision 1 or 6; or     (8) where the driver had actual knowledge that a peace officer had previously issued a citation or warning that the motor vehicle was defectively maintained, the driver had actual knowledge that remedial action was not taken, the driver had reason to know that the defect created a present danger to others, and the injury or death was caused by the defective maintenance.    Subd. 1a. Criminal penalties. (a) A person who violates subdivision 1 and causes the death of a human being not constituting murder or manslaughter or the death of an unborn child may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than ten years or to payment of a fine of not more than $20,000, or both.

Porkchopfan
Porkchopfan

In sub item 7, it references section 169.09 which is not in your comment, so your point is invaid.

Sharon Wimont
Sharon Wimont

Omg. She hit this poor man and left him to die! ARREST AMY SENSOR NOW!

Giveherthecharlolomg
Giveherthecharlolomg

Oh, the family is not thinking about money, but they are suing for "whatever a jury will give them".

Uh-huh, not thinking about money, eh?

I'm calling it now, the family will get $100,000, Amy will have to do a whole bunch of community service.  There will be some public outlash from imbeciles like everyone else that has posted on this thread that she didn't get any jail time.  Two people will say she should get the chair.  One of those people will blab about this to everyone they know, constantly, and they will lose a friend over it, and make a co-worker feel awkward at the water cooler. 

That $100,000 will be wasted, and gone in less than 6 months.  Two years from now the family that got the money awarded will be bankrupt again.  Think I'm joking?  This happens to LOTTERY winners all of the time.  They win millions, and they go broke so fast.....The idiots foaming at the mouth about the Mike's Hard Lemonade BOTTLECAP in the car need to realize that this stuff is basically koolaid beer.  Even a woman of her size could drink probably 3 of them in a 2 hour period and she would still not be blowing over the legal limit in Minnesota, which our legal limit is actually pretty strict.  And for all anyone knows, that BOTTLE CAP could have been in there for months. 

Everyone is jumping to the conclusion that she freked out because she hit someone while drunk, the only thing that is known is that SHE HIT SOMEONE.

And the family isn't interested in money.  But they want a jury to give them the most they will award them.

Timothy P
Timothy P

That Chink shouldn't of been hanging out there in the first place. Poor Amy.

Mandy Jackson
Mandy Jackson

and you are jumping to the conclusion that this family is bankrupt. the only thing that's known is they lost a family member at the hands of the senser family and deserve to be financially compensated for their loss. you are an idiot. i'm going to jump to the conclusion that you are banging amy senser.

Dave
Dave

Why shouldn't they want money? The man was a head chef and I'm assuming he was providing for his family. 

Now he's been taken from them and it will affect them... financially! And its just the way our system works; if they have money go for it. 

Btw its pretty ironic she hit him with her mercedes. 

wtf?
wtf?

When is a flashmob gonna show up a Senser's restaurant?

Tr
Tr

Boycott the Senser restaurants!!!

Ohthehumanity
Ohthehumanity

"After admitting guilt"

I am seriously done with CityPages misreporting Amy Senser's acceptance of responsibility here.  She's done nothing but avoid responsibility.  What is she a friend of yours?

Goodbye CP - and good riddance to bad rubbish. 

Shannel W
Shannel W

Thanks Joe and Amy for posting that. And, yes--please leave--to prison.

Zeroisanumber
Zeroisanumber

I wrote the county attorney, and they kindly wrote back and said that Amy Senser hasn't been picked up yet because the State Patrol is still investigating the incident.

Zinckedouglas
Zinckedouglas

put  the pipe down dude. u never got letter from c/a

Neal
Neal

Who really was driving?  That is not a simple answer to get, especially so late after the incident.  Is it totally inconceivable that a mother or wife would take one for the team? Especially if she were a cleaner and more sympatico candidate than another possible driver in the family?

The delay in charging reflects the investigator's doubts.

And even more cynically, it might be a deliberate strategy of hazy responsibility which could ultimately be used to overturn a prosecution.

wtf?
wtf?

When are charges going to be filed? Seriously?

Ankhia
Ankhia

The rich get away with everything!

ludwigtr
ludwigtr

yeah, If there's one thing I learned in my life so far, its If you have enough money, you'll never be in trouble for anything, ever.

vitajex
vitajex

The simple fact is that the Senser family GREATLY mishandled this issue.  No matter what the truth is, they've allowed the idea to be cultivated:  Something not quite above-board happened here. 

They will never be able to shake the shadow of conspiratorial mystery that's shrouded this story and they will never be able to escape the whispers that "Joe was REALLY driving..." or "You know, I heard she was drunk!"

That's the price one pays for not being upfront and honest from the beginning.  If you try to hide something, people's imaginations are allowed to run rampant.

Gm4110
Gm4110

I bet if I had too many beers at  Sensor's bar, and left the scene after I  accidently backed into the building,  that there would be an APB out on me.  If you have ever hit a phesant with your car, you certainly know it.  You would to be passed out or drunk not to know you hit a person.

And yes, it is felony to leave the scene or an injury accident in Minnesota, with a prison sentence up to 3 years

society at large
society at large

The biggest question is...had Amy Senser stopped would this man be alive today?  Obviously she could have cared less if he lived or she would have called 911 or had someone else call 911 or God forbid, actually stopped.

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