Former “Melrose Place” star Amy Locane-Bovenizer has been acquitted by a New Jersey jury of aggravated manslaughter but convicted of vehicular homicide for a car crash that killed a woman and injured her husband.
Locane-Bovenizer, 40, who guest-starred as Sandy Harling on 13 episodes of the '90s drama “Melrose Place” and is now a mother of two, was driving drunk two years ago when she crashed her Chevrolet Tahoe on a road in Montgomery Township, N.J., killing 60-year-old Helene Seeman and critically injuring her husband, Fred.
Somerset County prosecutors say Locane-Bovenizer was driving 53 mph on an unlit, windy road with a speed limit of 35 mph. According to court testimony, the actress, who now acts in her town’s community theater, had been at a cast party earlier. Witnesses say she had been drinking there as well as at a barbecue later in the night, before she got into her car alone.
Fred Seeman was turning his car into his driveway when Locane-Bovenizer plowed her car into theirs. The prosecution said her blood alcohol level was found to be three times the legal limit, a charge the defense did not contest. During the trial, her attorneys argued instead that she had been trying to escape from a high-speed chase with a third driver, Maureen Ruckelshaus, when the accident occurred.
Ruckelshaus began pursuing Locane-Bovenizer on the road after being rear-ended by the actress. Ruckelshaus testified that she had realized Locane-Bovenizer was drunk and instructed her to turn off her car but she ignored her and drove off so she followed her.
"I knew how drunk she was," Ruckelshaus told jurors. "My reaction was, ‘Oh my God, I have to figure out a way to get her to pull over.’”
Locane-Bovenizer faces 10 years in prison for the vehicular homicide charge, plus three to five years for another charge of vehicular assault. She also faces additional penalties for nine summonses including fleeing the scene of an accident, driving while intoxicated, and reckless driving.
Geoffery Soriano, a Somerset County prosecutor, said, "This was a case that needed to go to a jury, and certainly we'll respect their decision.”