911 calls from a very dark night

Last week, a jury of seven men and five women found Amy Senser guilty of two out of three charges of criminal vehicular homicide. They reached those verdicts after nearly 20 hours of deliberation. However, right before they delivered the verdicts in court, the jury’s forewoman, Shana Ford, wrote this note to judge Daniel Mabley.

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Mabley did not allow it to be read in court.

I emailed Senser’s defense lawyer, Eric Nelson, to ask him if he will use this when he files an appeal. Senser’s defense was based on her contention that she didn’t know she struck someone. Nelson wrote back and said he’ll file post trial motions next week, but didn’t say if the note from the jury will be grounds for an appeal.

The note is one of many pieces of evidence from the trial now available to the public. The court has also released copies of the 911 calls from three people who discovered 38-year-old Anousone Phanthavong’s body, just minutes after he was struck by Senser. The collision occurred on the exit ramp from I-94 westbound to Riverside Ave. just after 11 p.m. on Aug. 23 last year.

The first call was made by Brian Gutterman, a registered nurse who on his way to work. He tells the operator it’s very dark. There were no working overhead lights on the exit ramp that night. And Gutterman says he can’t tell if the man lying on the ground is dead or alive. You can hear him call out to Phanthavong to make sure he’s OK. Gutterman testified that he touched Phanthavong’s body and it felt cool. He guessed Phanthavong had been dead for just a few minutes.

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The second call was made by Maria Moralez. Moralez became distressed when she began to realize that the man she saw lying on the exit ramp was probably dead.

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(Note: An earlier version of this post included Maria Moralez’ phone number, which we edited out to protect her privacy.)

  • Chris Harrington

    Was Maria’s phone number really supposed to be left intact in that recording?