In February 2013, Melrose Place actress Amy Locane was convicted of vehicular homicide in a drunk driving crash, but now, her three-year prison sentence could be the least of her problems, drunk driving attorneys in New Jersey say. The family and estate of the 60-year-old victim, Helene Seeman, have brought lawsuits against Locane, which has sparked a slew of third-party and cross-claims related to the crash.
Locane was charged with drunk driving in June 2010, when she crashed into the Seeman’s on her way home from a party. The actress’s blood alcohol level was at .268, which is more than three times the legal limit, and she was traveling at 53 mph in a 35 mph zone. Fred Seeman, the driver, was making a left turn into his driveway, and his wife Helene was hit head-on and killed. Fred filed the civil lawsuit on behalf of himself, their son, who witnessed the accident, and Helene’s estate. The lawsuit, Seeman v. Locane, names both Locane and her husband Mark Bovenizer, who was not in the car with Locane at the time of the crash, but who had attended the party with her and allegedly let her drive while inebriated.
In another related lawsuit, Fred Seeman has brought charges against Rachel and Carlos Sagebien, the hosts of one of the parties that Locane attended that night. In turn, the Sagebiens have filed their own claim against the Off-Broadstreet Theater of Hopewell, which was the alleged site of the first party Locane attended, at which she had several drinks. Locane herself has filed a cross-claim against Fred Seeman, stating that his left turn into his driveway was negligent, and caused her to crash into their vehicle.
At least one other driver has also filed a suit against Locane for her intoxicated driving that night, drunk driving lawyers in New Jersey report. Maureen Ruckelshaus claimed that she, too, was hit by Locane on her drunk driving spree, before the actress crashed into Seeman’s vehicle. Locane in turn has filed a third-party suit against Ruckelshaus, claiming that the woman chased her following their collision, and frightened her, which caused her to drive erratically before she hit the Seeman’s vehicle.
The host of lawsuits filed in this case bring to light the other legal complications of a drunk driving lawsuit, lawyers in New Jersey say. Locane’s original trial and sentencing dealt with her levels of intoxication and the responsibility she had to drive safely, not under the influence of alcohol or drugs, while in the state of New Jersey. But now, she faces fines and penalties in the potentially high dollar amount range that could continue to negatively affect her as she serves out her sentence. Driver responsibility and social host liability claims have played a large role in this case as well, as Seeman’s lawsuit against the Sagebiens and theirs against the Theater demonstrate.
Drunk driving charges can be prosecuted at all levels. At the New Jersey law firm Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA, our drunk driving attorneys represent clients who have been charged with driving under the influence, or with contributing to another driver’s actions while driving drunk. Remember if you are hosting a party this summer, you have legal responsibility to ensure that your guests do not get behind the wheel intoxicated. If you are facing related DUI/DWI charges, contact an HCK attorney for a consultation today.