Former Wayland resident William Senne, 26, appeared at Plymouth County Superior Court Thursday and pleaded not guilty to charges related to the June death of Trooper Ellen Englehardt.
Earlier this month a Plymouth County Grand Jury indicted Senne on charges of motor vehicle homicide. The charges come more than eight years after Senne, who was 18, crashed his vehicle into Englehardt's while intoxicated. The accident caused Englehardt severe brain damage, from which she never recovered. She died June 11, 2011.
Senne pleaded guilty to causing the accident in 2005 and was sentenced to two and a half years in jail for operating under the influence to cause bodily injury.
At Thursday’s arraignment, Senne stood before Judge Joseph Walker in an olive suit and pleaded not guilty to two charges: motor vehicle homicide while operating under the influence of liquor with recklessness and motor vehicle homicide while operating under the influence of alcohol.
Calling the case, “highly unusual,” Daniel O’Malley, lead counsel for Senne, said they plan to defend the case strongly.
“That’s the nature of it,” O’Malley said, discussing the length of time between the crash and these new charges. “It couldn’t go any sooner. The death of the trooper triggered it.”
Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz said cases such as this do occur from time to time and explained that the statute of limitations in this case would have begun with Englehardt’s death, so that isn’t relevant.
“Many times we deal in cases that are old,” Cruz said. “I think we always knew that the injuries to the trooper were significant.”
Cruz said he has been in touch with Englehardt’s daughter, Lora Tedeman, but that the decision to pursue these new charges is not one the family can make. The decision falls to the district attorney.
“How many state troopers have lost their lives on Massachusetts highways since then?” Cruz said. “We need to take a firm stand.”
Senne, who is currently on probation as part of his guilty plea in 2005, is free on personal recognizance. He was ordered to abstain from drugs and alcohol and to undergo random testing.
A pre-trial conference has been scheduled for Nov. 7.
Editor's Note: Trooper Englehardt's name has also been spelled "Engelhardt" in various places.