Charges filed against ex-Viking's wife in fatal crash

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota authorities filed felony charges Thursday against the wife of a former Minnesota Viking in a fatal hit-and-run crash.

Amy Senser, 45, of Edina, is charged with criminal vehicular operation in the Aug. 23 death of Anousone Phanthavong of Roseville. The 38-year-old Thai restaurant chef had run out of gas and was walking along an Interstate 94 exit ramp in Minneapolis when he was struck and killed.

Amy Senser is the wife of former Minnesota Viking Joe Senser, who owns the Mercedes SUV that the Minnesota State Patrol identified as striking Phanthavong. Amy Senser turned herself in to the State Patrol on Thursday and was later released on $150,000 bail; she's due to make her first court appearance Friday, and faces up to a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and a $20,000 fine.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said prosecutors had enough evidence to prove that Amy Senser was driving the vehicle, hit and killed the victim and left the scene.

Eric Nelson, attorney for Amy Senser, said he was surprised to see charges filed before the investigation is complete. "I think there was a tremendous public outcry that Miss Senser should be charged, and I think in some regard the state filed these charges now in response to the public outcry," he said.

Nelson contacted the State Patrol the day after the accident to report that the Sensers' vehicle had been involved in the alleged hit and run, but waited more than a week to reveal that Amy Senser had been behind the wheel.

Joe Senser was a tight end for the Minnesota Vikings in the 1980s.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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