According to news reports, witnesses in the fatal DWI traffic accident case against former “Melrose Place” actress Amy Locane stated that the TV star was found allegedly “giggling in a ditch” following the fatal 2010 drunken driving wreck that killed the driver and occupant of a second vehicle in June last year. Witnesses, including the police officer assigned to monitor the former star, stated that the woman was happy and laughing post-crash.
Whether one lives in Somerset County where this accident happened, or Ocean, Middlesex or Bergen counties, as a New Jersey DWI defense lawyer I can tell you a drunken driving charge is severely complicated when an motor vehicle accident is also involved, much less a fatal traffic wreck. Based on news reports, the judge in the case could be allowed to give their testimony against the defendant.
These witnesses reportedly heard statements made by Locane prior to the woman’s arrest on June 27, 2010, after her Chevrolet Tahoe smashed into a second vehicle carrying a man and his wife; 60-year-old Helen Seeman, a resident of Hopewell Township died as a result of the collision. Initially prosecutors challenged the Locane defense team’s request to call a police detective and another driver allegedly hit by the defendant prior to the accident, stating that those individuals should not be allowed to testify as witnesses because they were not present at Locane’s arrest.
One of those potential witnesses for the defense was the driver of a Honda Odyssey which was allegedly hit by Locane’s vehicle earlier that evening. Following the suspect, Maureen Ruckelshaus, apparently had an interaction with Locane earlier that evening before the fatal drunken driving accident that killed Seeman. Defense lawyers believe that Ruckelshaus could provide testimony that might offer the court a window into Locane’s state of mind and demeanor on that day.
The second individual who was indicated by the defense as a potential witness is police Sgt. Christopher Palfy. Locane’s defense team had indicated that Palfy’s testimony could be required to clarify any questions regarding his client’s arrest, such as time of day and the defendant’s understanding of the charges against her, namely aggravated manslaughter and vehicular assault.
According to news reports, Judge Angela Borkowski stated that she would allow a detective working within the prosecutor’s office to be subpoenaed for the defendant’s Miranda hearing. That hearing was necessary to decide if statements the former TV star made to police officers at the time of her arrest can be used at her trial.
The judge also gave preliminary approval to subpoena Ruckelshaus, who allegedly tried to take Locane’s car keys from her earlier in the evening of the fatal car accident.
Another witness, Officer William Wilkes, the patrolman assigned to accompany Locane from the crash scene to the hospital for treatment of her injuries. Wilkes has already testified that Locane’s demeanor immediately following the crash and then hours later, ranged from “bewilderment to belligerence to playfulness.”
According to court records, Wilkes said the actress even appeared to flirt with him in her hospital room. Based on the officers testimony, Locane allegedly told authorities that she had consumed four glasses of wine and a beer the evening of the deadly crash. Furthermore, she is reported to have asked the officer if she would be charged with DWI.