"Amy Senser bill" heads to Dayton's desk

amy senser mugs rect.jpg
Senser was recently transferred to a work release program after spending less than two years in prison.
-- Update at bottom --

Amy Senser unsuccessfully argued during her trial that because she (falsely) believed she struck a traffic cone or pothole with her SUV and not a person, she shouldn't be convicted of criminal vehicular homicide.

A bill headed to Gov. Dayton's desk would prevent that so-called "ignorance argument" from being made in future hit-and-run cases.

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The bill, authored by Rep. Paul Rosenthal (D-Edina) and Sen. Kevin Dahle (D-Northfield), requires drivers who collide with an object to stop and check out what they've hit. In short, if your car hits with a person, another car, or piece or property, you have a legal obligation to stop and "reasonably investigate" the situation. No more of this "I thought I hit a pothole or traffic cone" stuff. (Read the full bill here.)

Rosenthal says the measure simply brings the law into accordance with our intuitions about what's expected of people.

"It's common sense for most Minnesotans that if you hit something, it's your responsibility to stop and investigate what you hit, but this bill sets out in clear language that Minnesota courts will not tolerate people leaving the scene of a collision without at least attempting to see what they collided with and making contact with the victims if there were other individuals involved," Rosenthal says in a statement. "It's the sort of personal responsibility that we expect."

The bill, approved yesterday by the House, had broad bipartisan support in both chambers. It now heads to Governor Dayton's desk for his signature.

:::: UPDATE ::::

Reached for comment this afternoon, Rosenthal clarified the conditions under which a driver is legally obligated to stop when they collide with something under his bill.

"If you see it -- if you're driving through a construction zone and inadvertently run over a traffic cone, you're not required to stop," Rosenthal says. "But if you're going through a construction zone and you're distracted, whether it be on your phone or looking at email -- doing stuff you shouldn't be doing in your car -- and you hit something and don't know what you hit, then it's your responsibility to stop at the nearest safe place."

"The vast majority of us know what we hit and so we wouldn't have to stop, but if we don't, it seems common sense to me we should investigate and do it in a safe manner," he continued.

Rosenthal thinks his bill could help safe lives like Anousone Phanthavong's.

"If we can get to some of these people who might've been hit while changing a tire or something, we might be able to save a life," he says.

Rosenthal's bill has the backing of organizations like MADD, the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, the Minnesota Sheriffs' Association, and the Minnesota County Attorneys Association.

Asked if he anticipates Governor Dayton will sign it into law, Rosenthal replies, "Absolutely."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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65 comments
Adrienne E. Reed
Adrienne E. Reed

if she would've been convicted the 1st time around there would be no need 4 this..why give that much attention 2 her name!?

Cindy Petree
Cindy Petree

Anousone was doing cocaine it was all over the news and in the papers

Cindy Petree
Cindy Petree

everyone on here has drove after drinking

Brian Nieken
Brian Nieken

Stopping after you hit something should be common sense anyway.

Rick Nelson
Rick Nelson

And how many more people will get run over on the road for stopping and getting out of their cars? Minnesota politics are so ridiculous.

NickNack PattyWack
NickNack PattyWack

Marcel Urman so she gets slapped on the wrist AND makes a new law???

Tahsha LePage
Tahsha LePage

So all the cans/cups I run over...stop for that?

Tim T Praxaya
Tim T Praxaya

Let's just glorify her cunt face instead of the deceased/victims name.

Dan Mason
Dan Mason

Hopefully it would be a traffic cone.

Mike Jones
Mike Jones

But would she check to see what she tripped over?

Danielle Henkels
Danielle Henkels

They did do toxicology, and the reports were not allowed in at the trial. It was information selectively reported and glossed over. Not saying Amy was innocent I just know there were a few things reported that weren't allowed at the trial.

Aaron Wood
Aaron Wood

You can't legislate common sense.

Steve Muñoz
Steve Muñoz

Sheesh... She does not have a pretty profile does she? Doesn't quite match the straight on picture.

Ray Anderson
Ray Anderson

That should be common sense! I call BS on her, she knew!

Susie Quarstad
Susie Quarstad

What information do you have about Anousone Phanthavong that "might have included him being on something at the time too"? I am positive they would have done toxicology on him and would have been proven one way or the other. In all the time I have very closely followed this story I have never once heard that statement being made. I am not even saying I am right, I am just asking what is this information and where did it come from?

Mike Moravec
Mike Moravec

I think the bill itself is sillier than my comment. Common sense should be used without the introduction of such a bill. To name it after the person who committed the crime is even sillier.

Susie Quarstad
Susie Quarstad

That is silly, obviously that is not what is meant by this bill nor would people with common sense take it that way.

Vanessa Grausam
Vanessa Grausam

Yes I totally agree! I thought the same thing when I read that.

Danielle Henkels
Danielle Henkels

They can't get anything else that the people are demanding done but they can pass another law that is already covered by other laws huh? Wasn't this unsession supposed to include REMOVING redundant laws not adding to existing laws? And I don't condone the actions of her that night but there was information about the victim that might have included him being on something at the time too. You can get a biking under the influence too and it can mar your judgement. Don't just believe all the information providedin stories by reporters who have decided guilt or innocence before they have investigated. And don't judge til you've been there.

Lorenzo Vasquez
Lorenzo Vasquez

Read this statement carefully,if you or I went over a pothole or a cone (tee-hee) and a Human Being would you be able to tell the difference ???????? love your statement kyle (common senser bill is so appropriate) go into hiding amy after some wherever court ordered treatment if that. did nt do no time that s for sure.. you sure have nt shown any remorse for the man you ran over and killed an left him there.

Dan Lemke
Dan Lemke

Not just drunk, a pampered self indulgent bitch. I've waited on here and she can throw 'em back. Vehicular manslaughter is MURDER, especially when you think the law cannot touch you because your husband is some overpaid washed up has been. The law should be named after the victim not the bitch who MURDERED him!

Dan Mason
Dan Mason

I hope Amy Senser trips falls and dies a horrible painful death.

Donn Ganske
Donn Ganske

but wait. why would you not stop and check out what you hit? and would have assumed that was already a law.

Nathan Conley
Nathan Conley

Not murdering another is a no - brainer for most, but yet society requires a law against it. ..... for obvious reasons.

Allyson Kae Durkee
Allyson Kae Durkee

Just goes to show this country is corrupt as fuck & if you have money you can pretty much get away with anything!

Ben Oberg
Ben Oberg

So, if you don't adhere to the "Amy Sensor Law" does that make your, already very illegal, hit and run worse?

Kristi Eylandt
Kristi Eylandt

wouldnt one do that anyway??? seems like a no-brainer to me.

Nathan Conley
Nathan Conley

It gives the DA another possible charging option other than manslaughter, and failing to render aid. This could help if the evidence doesn't exist for those charges.

James Walls
James Walls

If I have to pull over for a squirrel I'm doing an end zone dance before I get back in the car...

Mike Moravec
Mike Moravec

good point Jonathan!!! Why should someone who killed an innocent person have the bill named after them. Name it after the victim.

Keith Morioka
Keith Morioka

It's a step in it's intentions, but come on, if someone's drunk or high, and they hit something, they are still going to flee the scene without stopping... Amy was drinking that night, even if she hit something and did damage, do you really think that she would have stopped, even with this law?

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