Melrose Place alum Amy Locane-Bovenizer may be headed back to prison after serving two-and-a-half years of a three-year sentence for her involvement in a 2010 drunk driving car crash which killed a 60-year-old New Jersey woman.
The 44-year-old actress was released on parole in June 2015. But on Friday, a judge ruled that the leniency granted in the original prison term lacked sufficient explanation and that Locane-Bovenizer’s trial judge must offer a more detailed justification of her downgraded sentence, according to court documents.
In November 2012, Locane-Bovenizer was acquitted of a more serious charge of aggravated manslaughter and convicted of the lesser-degree offense of second-degree vehicular homicide. She drove with a blood-alcohol level that was nearly three times the legal limit, going 53 mph in a 35 mph zone on June 27, 2010.
Locane-Bovenizer’s SUV crashed into a Mercury Milan turning into its Montgomery Township-home, critically injuring driver Fred Seeman and killing his wife and front-seat passenger Helene Seeman.
The actress faced a prison sentencing ranging from 5 to 10 years on the most serious count, The Associated Press reports. But,at the time, the judge sentenced her below the prescribed time because they said they believed the longer jail term would be detrimental to her two young children – one of whom has a serious medical and mental disability.
“The trial judge did not identify compelling reasons to downgrade [the] defendant’s second degree offense, other than the harm [the] defendant’s children were likely to experience as a result of her incarceration,” the appellate judges wrote in court documents first submitted in February. “He also found that defendant no longer posed a risk to the public, but neither the rationale for the conclusion nor the record support for it were fully stated.”
At the appeal ruling on Friday, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office said Locane-Bovenizer’s ruling sent a “bewildering message” about the penalties for drunk driving, NJ.com reports.
A new hearing date has not yet been set.
During her 2012 trial, Locane-Bovenizer’s attorney attempted to focus the blame for the crash on a third driver, Maureen Ruckelshaus, whose car Locane-Bovenizer had rear-ended earlier. She said during the initial trial and she had been pursuing the Melrose Place alum to get her to stop driving.
Locane-Bovenizer’s legal team never disputed that she was drunk, but said she should not be held criminally responsible for her actions.
“This is a sad day for the Seeman Family,” Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Murphy told the Associated Press following the 2013 verdict. “There were no winners declared by the verdict. There are only losers. A husband lost his dear wife; his two children lost their mother; and Helene’s mother lost her daughter. That loss can never be rectified by a verdict.”
In addition to 13 episodes of Melrose Place, Locane-Bovenizer has appeared in movies such as Cry-Baby and School Ties.
The New Jersey attorney general’s office and Locane-Bovenizer’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.