It’s understandable why many state troopers want to see William Senne spend more time in prison. In 2003, while he was driving with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit for an 18-year-old like him, Senne struck trooper Ellen Engelhardt by the side of Route 25 in Wareham. She was left in a permanent vegetative state for years, until she eventually died in 2011. Senne, who was a teenager at the time of the crash, pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the incident in 2005, but served only 2 ½ years, a sentence decried at the time by law enforcement.
Now, the Plymouth County district attorney, Timothy Cruz, is seeking to put Senne back behind bars by using a loophole in the constitutional ban on trying a defendant twice for the same crime. Senne’s 2005 plea was for reckless endangerment and causing bodily injury while driving drunk. Now Cruz is bringing a new charge on the same underlying actions — this time for vehicular homicide, on the reasoning that Engelhardt’s death in 2011 was caused by the 2003 crash. If convicted, Senne could face 15 more years in prison.