Joe Senser to face lawsuit by hit and run victim's family

12:26 PM, Sep 2, 2011   |    comments
  • File photo of Joe Senser
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Attorneys for the family of a fatal hit and run victim are preparing a civil lawsuit against former Viking Joe Senser.

Jim Schwebel tells KARE 11 the lawsuit is being prepared and will be filed in Hennepin County District Court as soon as a trustee is appointed by the court to represent Anousone Phanthavong's next of kin. He expects that the suit will be filed by Tuesday.

The lawsuit will seek to compel Senser and members of his family to cooperate with investigators looking into Phanthavong's death, and to reveal who was behind the wheel of the 2009 Mercedes SUV that struck and killed the 38-year-old Phanthavong on an I-94 on-ramp last week.

The SUV that is tied to the fatal hit and run is legally registered to Senser.

Schwebel is preparing subpoenas for approximately 10 people he believes may have direct knowledge of who is responsible for Phanthavong's death.  Those suppoenas will be issued  directly after the lawsuit is filed.

The lawsuit will also seek unspecified monetary damages as Phanthavong was a primary wage earner for an extended family of first-generation immigrants who depended on his salary as a chef.

Anousone Phanthavong was killed last Tuesday night as he poured gas into his stalled vehicle on the ramp from Riverside Avenue. The next day an attorney for the Senser family called the State Patrol and told investigators that Joe Senser owns the vehicle involved in the fatal accident.

Attorney Eric Nelson says the Sensers are cooperating with investigators but are not answering questions about who was driving the vehicle when the hit and run occured, citing their fifth amendment right against self-incrimination.

Schwebel calls those claims "a mockery," and says justice compels Joe Senser and his family to tell authorities everything they know. He says the Sensers owe it to Phanthavong's family to demonstrate a sense of contrition and remorse.

Eric Nelson says the Senser family is expected to issue a statement about the situation late Friday afternoon.




(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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