SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Fans of this TV sitcom will not welcome the news about the conviction of a former Melrose Place actress. She was driving DWI when her SUV plowed into another car, killing a woman. Convicted last Tuesday of vehicular homicide, she was immediately jailed and her bail was revoked. However, she was acquitted of a graver charge of aggravated manslaughter.
Amy Locane-Bovenizer, 40, tried to shift blame for the fatal accident to other persons. She placed the blame on a third motorist whose car she had rear-ended and who had been pursuing the actress. She also blamed the statement of the husband of the car accident victim for making what he said that it was a slow turn in front of her SUV.
Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Murphy said following the verdict that the conviction on a charge of death by auto, also known as vehicular homicide, was as a matter of law a rejection of that defense.
According to evidence presented at the trial, the test of Locane-Bovenizer’s blood showed a BAC that was nearly three times the legal limit when the crash occurred in 2010 on a dark two-lane road in Montgomery Township, in central New Jersey.
The defendant did not deny that she was drunk reasoning out that she is not criminally responsible for the accident.
Locane-Bovenizer did not testify at the trial. She was seen in 13 episodes of TV’s Melrose Place and in movies including Cry-Baby, School Ties and Secretary.
The actress faces five to 10 years in prison on the vehicular homicide count and must serve a minimum of 85 percent of that sentence without parole. She will also be serving from three to five years in prison for her conviction on a second count of assault by auto, which stemmed from injuries she caused the husband of the woman killed in the crash. Sentencing will be pronounved for March while the motor vehicle charges are also pending.
The victim was Helene Seeman, age 60, who was the fatality in the accident while her husband, Fred Seeman, was critically injured. Seeman was turning his car into the driveway when Locane-Bovenizer’s SUV slammed into them.
The trial which started in early October had more than 50 witnesses taking the stand. The prosecution showed that Locane-Bovenizer has not only caused Mrs. Seeman’s death, but also that she did so under circumstances showing extreme indifference to human life and by acting recklessly.
Locane-Bovenizer is the mother of two residing in Hopewell Township and very active in community theater. She started drinking at the night of the accident at a cast party, testimony showed. Witnesses said she also drank at a barbecue she later attended with her family before leaving on her own.
The defense tried to blame on the accident on the third motorist, Maureen Ruckelshaus, who was pursuing Locane-Bovenizer after being rear-ended. Ruckelshaus said she had told the clearly intoxicated driver to turn off her SUV, but that the woman drove off.
Ruckelshaus testified that the driver was so drank and she wanted her to pull over. The defense presented Ruckelshaus as a vigilante who frightened the former actress by trying to grab her keys from the ignition and then giving chase. The defense said Locane-Bovenizer even offered Ruckelshaus her cellphone to call police. Ruckelshaus denied reaching in for the keys and she only demanded to turn your car off.
According to evidence presented at the trial Ruckelshaus pursued the former actress for about four miles. Both of them going over the speed limit of 35 mph for most of the way until a car in front of them moved out of the way and Locane-Bovenizer accelerated to more than 50 mph just prior to the crash.
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