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Jury deliberating in trial of ex-'Melrose' actress

Associated Press Modified: November 20, 2012 at 4:48 pm •  Published: November 20, 2012
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The prosecutor said Locane-Bovenizer sought to blame everyone but herself for the accident, and had an obligation to yield to the turning car, but she "didn't have the cognitive perception to see the other car."

The defense sought to place much of the blame on the accident on the third motorist, Maureen Ruckelshaus, whose vehicle the former actress had rear-ended minutes before the fatal crash.

Ruckelshaus pursued Locane-Bovenizer in her van after the fender-bender. She testified that she asked another motorist behind them to call police because she had left her cellphone at home, then told the clearly intoxicated driver to turn off her SUV, but that the woman 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.'"

The defense portrayed Ruckelshaus as a vigilante who frightened the former actress by trying to grab her keys from the ignition and then giving chase. The defense said Locane-Bovenizer even offered Ruckelshaus her cellphone to call 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.

Ruckelshaus followed the former actress for about four miles, with both going about the speed limit of 35 mph for most of the way until a car in front of them moved out of the way and Locane-Bovenizer accelerated to more than 50 mph, according to evidence presented at the trial.

"The defense is trying to shift the blame onto everybody else," Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Murphy said during closing arguments. "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."