NJ jury gets case of former ‘Melrose Place’ actress who blames others for drunken driving crash
SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Amy Locane-Bovenizer, ex “Melrose Place” actress was found driving under the influence when her car crashed into another car killing Helene Seeman and injuring her husband Fred Seeman. Locane-Bovenizer was driving her SUV on a dark two-lane road in central New Jersey in 2010 when the accident took place. Her lawyer is trying to convince the jury that the fatal crash resulted because of a motorist and not the client.
The defense attorney, Ellen Torregrossa-OConnor, has agreed that Locane-Bovenizer was drunk and was driving under the influence. She blames a third motorist whose car was pursuing the actress. “Nobody relishes standing up here blaming a man who tragically lost his wife,” the defense attorney, Ellen Torregrossa-OConnor, said in closing arguments Monday. “However, in this accident, Mr. Seeman was in some way at fault for the actual collision.” The accused did not testify during the trial.
If Locane-Bovenizer is proven guilty, she faces up to 30 years in prison. She faces conviction of both aggravated manslaughter and assault by auto charges. She will be charged separately for motor vehicle counts related to drunk driving. In order to prove her guilty, the prosecutor has to prove the court that Locane-Bovenizer had no compassion for human life and this reckless act was the cause that lead to Seeman’s death.
Locane-Bovenizer is a resident of Hopewell Township and is a mother of two. The former actress appeared in 13 episodes of the TV series “Melrose Place”. She has also participated in movies including “Cry-Baby,” “School Ties” and “Secretary.” She currently acts in the community theater. The day of the accident, the accused was drinking at a cast party. She later attended a barbeque dinner with friends and was seen drinking there as well. She left the party one her own without the help of any driver. The Seeman car was making a U-turn in the drive way when the defense car hit in. The defense attorney argues that Seeman deliberately made a slow turn in his driveway and was partially responsible for the death of his wife. In response, the prosecutor states that Locane-Bovenizer is blaming others for her mistake and she “didn’t have the cognitive perception to see the other car.”
The third motorist, Maureen Ruckelshaus, testified that the ex actress had rear ended her vehicle minutes before the crash. She states she had left her mobile home and had asked another motorist to call the police because the SUV driver was intoxicated. She told the SUV driver to turn off her car but the women drove off. “I knew how drunk she was,” Ruckelshaus testified. “My reaction was, ‘Oh my God, I have to figure out a way to get her to pull over.’ In response, the defense argued that Ruckelshaus was frightening the ex-actress. She was trying to grab the keys from her SUV’s ignition and that Locane-Bovenizer herself offered Ruckelshaus her cell phone to call the police. Ruckelshaus denied reaching in for the keys. “I said, ‘I don’t want your cellphone. … I want you to turn your car off,'” she testified.
According to the evidence presented at the trial, Ruckelshaus followed the ex-actress for four miles at the speed of 35mph. A car ahead of Locane-Bovenizer moved from the way and they accelerated the speed to 50mph.
Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Murphy said during closing arguments, “The defense is trying to shift the blame onto everybody else. But who was the hazard on the roadway? Was it Maureen Ruckelshaus? No. Was it Fred Seeman? No. It was the intoxicated driver. She was the hazard.”