Conn. man faces DWI charge in fatal crash on New England Thruway in NY

WHITE PLAINS, New York — A Connecticut man is facing a DWI charge in connection with a fatal New York crash last week on the New England Thruway.

The Westchester County district attorney’s office said Monday that the investigation continues in the case involving Norwalk resident Jose J. Ramirez.

Attorney Jeff Chartier (chahr-tee-AY’) says the father of five remains hospitalized. He says Ramirez’s prayers are with the dead man’s loved ones and those hurt in the “tragic accident.”

State police say the crash killed front-seat passenger Kelman Villa Santos of Norwalk. Another passenger was hospitalized.

The wreck occurred around 2:30 a.m. Friday in Rye. It snarled traffic into the morning rush-hour.

Police say the northbound car rear-ended a Thruway pickup truck that was parked on the shoulder.

The truck driver was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Kerry Kennedy says she has no memory of accident

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y — Kerry Kennedy testified at her drugged-driving trial Wednesday that she has no memory of swerving and hitting a tractor-trailer on a suburban New York highway and did not realize she was impaired when she got behind the wheel.

”No, if I realized I was impaired I would have pulled over,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy was arrested in July 2012 after her car hit the truck near her home outside New York City. She drove to the next exit, where she failed a sobriety test, police said.

The prosecution argues that even if she took the sleeping pill accidentally, Kennedy violated the law by failing to pull over when it took effect.

Taking the stand on the third day of her trial in White Plains, Kennedy said she has no memory of the interval between when she got on the highway and when she stopped at the exit.

She said she was ”confused” when someone who she thought was a police officer knocked on the door of her Lexus and asked if she was all right.

”He said, ‘Have you been in an accident?”’ Kennedy said. ”And I said no because as far as I was concerned I hadn’t been in an accident.”

Kennedy testified earlier that she accidentally took a sleeping pill that morning.

”I thought I was taking Synthroid, my thyroid medication,” she said. ”I now know thanks to the tox lab that I must have taken the sleeping medication by mistake.”

Kennedy said she has taken the thyroid medication every day since 1991 and takes the sleeping pills to adjust to time changes when she travels.

She said the sleeping pills were on the counter on the morning of the accident because she was planning a trip.

Defense lawyer Gerald Lefcourt showed the jury two photographs — one of the two similar-looking pill bottles and one of the two types of pill. Both pills were light-colored and oblong, but one was slightly longer than the other.

Prosecutor Doreen Lloyd said during cross-examination that Kennedy ”didn’t take the time or the care” to check the label on the medication and asked if she would agree that was careless.

”I would,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy, 54, is the ex-wife of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and the niece of the late President John F. Kennedy.

Lefcourt asked her about her background and her work as president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights

Justice Robert Neary cut them off, saying, ”I’m not sure this is the right forum to go into exhaustive detail.”

<!–

–>

Kerry Kennedy says she doesn’t remember accident

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Kerry Kennedy testified at her drugged-driving trial Wednesday that she has no memory of swerving into a tractor-trailer on a suburban New York highway and never sensed that she was becoming impaired after accidentally taking a sleeping pill.

“If I realized I was impaired I would have pulled over,” said Kennedy, ex-wife of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and daughter of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

She was arrested in July 2012 after her car hit the truck near her home outside New York City. She kept driving to the next exit, where she was found slumped over the steering wheel and failed sobriety tests.

The prosecution argues that even if she took the sleeping pill accidentally, Kennedy violated the law by failing to pull over when it took effect.

Taking the stand on the third day of her trial in White Plains, Kennedy said she remembers the first part of her drive that day but has no memory of the interval between when she got on the highway and when she stopped at the exit.

She said she was confused when a man knocked on the window of her Lexus and asked if she was all right.

“He said, ‘Have you been in an accident?’” Kennedy said. “And I said, ‘No,’ because as far as I was concerned I hadn’t been in an accident.”

Kennedy testified earlier Wednesday that she accidentally took a sleeping pill that morning.

“I thought I was taking Synthroid, my thyroid medication,” she said. But because blood tests revealed a small amount of the sleeping drug zolpidem, “I must have taken the sleeping medication by mistake.”

Kennedy said she has taken the thyroid medication every day since 1991 and takes the sleeping pills to adjust to time changes when she travels.

Kennedy, 54, said the sleeping pills were on the kitchen counter, near the thyroid pills, on the morning of the accident because she was planning a trip.

Defense lawyer Gerald Lefcourt showed the jury two photographs – one of the two similar pill bottles and one of the two types of pill. Both pills were light-colored and oblong, but one was slightly longer than the other.

Prosecutor Doreen Lloyd said during cross-examination that Kennedy “didn’t take the time or the care” to check the label on the medication and asked if she would agree that was careless.

“I would,” Kennedy said.

And she asked if the pill really “overtook you without warning.”

“Yes,” Kennedy said.

Lefcourt asked her about her big-family upbringing. Kennedy said they lived near Washington because, “Daddy was the attorney general.”

“My mother raised us because my father died when I was 8,” she said. “He was killed when he was running for president.”

She answered several questions about her work as president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, but Justice Robert Neary cut them off, saying, “I’m not sure this is the right forum to go into exhaustive detail.”

Kennedy had mentioned the possibility of a pill mix-up to police at the accident scene. But Lloyd noted that a few days after the accident, she issued a statement saying her doctors believed a seizure, stemming from an early brain injury, caused the accident. A week later, after blood tests revealed the sleeping drug in her blood, she issued another statement saying, “It now appears that my first instinct was correct.”

Lloyd accused her of switching defenses and using a public relations firm because she was worried “what the public would think about you.”

Kennedy said she “wanted the truth to be out.”

Lloyd also mentioned that in 2010, Kennedy refilled a 30-tablet sleeping pill prescription 38 days after getting the original prescription.

“Do you recall taking zolpidem on an everyday basis?” the prosecutor asked.

“Absolutely not,” Kennedy said. She said she may have lost the first bottle and acknowledged it was a dangerous thing to misplace.

Kerry Kennedy says she has no memory of accident



WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) Kerry Kennedy testified at her drugged-driving trial Wednesday that she has no memory of swerving and hitting a tractor-trailer on a suburban New York highway and did not realize she was impaired when she got behind the wheel.

No, if I realized I was impaired I would have pulled over, Kennedy said.

Kennedy was arrested in July 2012 after her car hit the truck near her home outside New York City. She drove to the next exit, where she failed a sobriety test, police said.

The prosecution argues that even if she took the sleeping pill accidentally, Kennedy violated the law by failing to pull over when it took effect.

Taking the stand on the third day of her trial in White Plains, Kennedy said she has no memory of the interval between when she got on the highway and when she stopped at the exit.

She said she was confused when someone who she thought was a police officer knocked on the door of her Lexus and asked if she was all right.

He said, Have you been in an accident? Kennedy said. And I said no because as far as I was concerned I hadnt been in an accident.

Kennedy testified earlier that she accidentally took a sleeping pill that morning.

I thought I was taking Synthroid, my thyroid medication, she said. I now know thanks to the tox lab that I must have taken the sleeping medication by mistake.

Kennedy said she has taken the thyroid medication every day since 1991 and takes the sleeping pills to adjust to time changes when she travels.

She said the sleeping pills were on the counter on the morning of the accident because she was planning a trip.

Defense lawyer Gerald Lefcourt showed the jury two photographs one of the two similar-looking pill bottles and one of the two types of pill. Both pills were light-colored and oblong, but one was slightly longer than the other.

Prosecutor Doreen Lloyd said during cross-examination that Kennedy didnt take the time or the care to check the label on the medication and asked if she would agree that was careless.

I would, Kennedy said.

Kennedy, 54, is the ex-wife of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and the niece of the late President John F. Kennedy.

Lefcourt asked her about her background and her work as president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights

Justice Robert Neary cut them off, saying, Im not sure this is the right forum to go into exhaustive detail.

Kerry Kennedy Says Ambien ‘Overtook’ Her, Causing Car Crash

(WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.) — A New York jury was poised to begin deliberations after Kerry Kennedy told them Wednesday how she accidentally took prescription sleeping pills that then “overtook” her, causing her to crash her car on a New York highway.

Kennedy, 54, took the stand to testify in her own defense Wednesday in her drugged driving trial. She is accused of driving under the influence of zolpidem, a sleep medication better known as Ambien, and slamming her Lexus SUV into a truck on a New York highway in July 2013.

One final witness, a forensic pharmacologist, is expected to be called by the defense on Thursday to testify to the effects of Ambien before final arguments are made and the case goes to the jury.

Within minutes of taking the stand Wednesday Kennedy invoked the name of her late father, Robert F. Kennedy, and told the jury that he was killed while running for president. Kennedy’s famous lineage has been a focal point for the defense as they’ve tried to present her as an upstanding citizen with no drug or alcohol problems.

The daughter of RFK and Ethel Kennedy, whom she was photographed pushing in a wheelchair into and out of court earlier in the week, is also a niece of President John F. Kennedy and was married to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“Daddy was the attorney general during the civil rights movement,” Kerry Kennedy said after taking the stand Wednesday, explaining to jurors why she grew up in Virginia.

“I have 10 brothers and sisters. My mother raised us because my father died when I was 8,” she said. Asked how he died, Kennedy said, “He was killed while running for president.”

Kennedy denied knowingly or intentionally taking Ambien on the morning of the car crash. She also denied realizing she was coming under its effects as she left her home and began driving in her SUV.

Prosecutor Doreen Lloyd attempted to portray Kennedy as a frequent Ambien user who should’ve known its effects, but Kennedy said she never thinks about how she feels after taking the pill before bed.

“I just go to sleep,” she said.

“Ambien overtook you without warning?” Lloyd asked.

“Yes,” she replied.

When asked about her morning routine, Kennedy explained that on the morning of the crash she had a breakfast of cappuccino and carrots. She had to go through a “15 or 20 step process” to prepare the cappuccino on a complicated-sounding coffee maker, and in the process said she mistook Ambien for Synthoid, the medication she takes daily for an underactive thyroid.

“I know now thanks to the tox [toxicology] lab that I was taking my sleep medication by mistake,” she said.

The defense showed the jury pictures of the pill bottles and pills themselves which looked, as Kennedy said, “very similar.” Her lawyer noted Kennedy’s light breakfast of carrots and cappuccino could have made the drug affect her more quickly due to a somewhat-empty stomach.

Kennedy said she remembers beginning to drive that morning because she remembers “thinking how beautiful the light was filtering through the trees at that hour,” but then her memories “are really jumbled.”

Kennedy said the next thing she remembers is an officer approaching her stopped car.

“He said ‘Have you been in an accident?’ And I said no because as far as I was concerned I hadn’t been in an accident,” Kennedy said. She said she felt dizzy, disoriented, confused and frightened that she had no memory and “that I had amnesia” about what had happened.

“Did you realize you were impaired,” defense attorney Gerald Lefcourt asked. “No,” Kennedy said. “If I realized I was impaired I would have pulled over.”

Prior to Kennedy’s testimony Wednesday, the defense has focused much of its efforts on presenting Kennedy as an upstanding heir to a presidential legacy. In the opening statements, Kennedy’s defense attorney was scolded for harping on the fact that she is the niece of a former president.

“She is not seeking any advantages here because of her famous family,” defense attorney Gerald Lefcourt said in response to the judge.

The defense has called a string of character witnesses in front of the jury, including an Irish priest, Kennedy’s sister and friends, and humanitarian workers who have testified to Kennedy’s soberness and upstanding moral character.

Rory Kennedy, Kerry’s younger sister, said her sister has a reputation for being sober and healthy. She said the two sisters, nine years apart, have a “very close relationship.”

“She’s really my best friend,” Rory Kennedy said under oath.

One witness, neighbor Emily Liebert, testified Wednesday that Kennedy asked her to go to Kennedy’s home the night of her arrest and count her sleep pills and thyroid pills out of concern she had either mixed up her medication or had a seizure.

Meanwhile, Kennedy has sat at the defense table, at times fingering rosary beads as others have testified. Earlier this week, she was photographed pushing her mother, Ethel Kennedy, in a wheelchair into and out of court.

The prosecution alleges that Kennedy chose to drive while under the effects of the sleep medication, saying that if she truly did take the medicine accidentally, she should have pulled over when she felt it beginning to affect her. Instead she continued to drive for five miles before the crash.

A toxicologist the prosecution called to testify, however, said that the medicine can work quickly, and begin to affect someone within 15 minutes.

“People start to have effects in 15 minutes to a half hour” after taking it, said Elizabeth Spratt of the Westchester County Department of Labs.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

– Delivered by Feed43 service

© ABC News Radio

Kerry Kennedy says she has no memory of accident

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) Kerry Kennedy testified at her drugged-driving trial Wednesday that she has no memory of swerving into a tractor-trailer on a suburban New York highway and never sensed that she was becoming impaired after accidentally taking a sleeping pill.


“If I realized I was impaired I would have pulled over,” said Kennedy, ex-wife of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and daughter of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.


She was arrested in July 2012 after her car hit the truck near her home outside New York City. She kept driving to the next exit, where she was found slumped over the steering wheel and failed sobriety tests.


The prosecution argues that even if she took the sleeping pill accidentally, Kennedy violated the law by failing to pull over when it took effect.


Taking the stand on the third day of her trial in White Plains, Kennedy said she remembers the first part of her drive that day but has no memory of the interval between when she got on the highway and when she stopped at the exit.


She said she was confused when a man knocked on the window of her Lexus and asked if she was all right.


“He said, ‘Have you been in an accident?’” Kennedy said. “And I said, ‘No,’ because as far as I was concerned I hadn’t been in an accident.”


Kennedy testified earlier Wednesday that she accidentally took a sleeping pill that morning.


“I thought I was taking Synthroid, my thyroid medication,” she said. But because blood tests revealed a small amount of the sleeping drug zolpidem, “I must have taken the sleeping medication by mistake.”


Kennedy said she has taken the thyroid medication every day since 1991 and takes the sleeping pills to adjust to time changes when she travels.


Kennedy, 54, said the sleeping pills were on the kitchen counter, near the thyroid pills, on the morning of the accident because she was planning a trip.


Defense lawyer Gerald Lefcourt showed the jury two photographs one of the two similar pill bottles and one of the two types of pill. Both pills were light-colored and oblong, but one was slightly longer than the other.


Prosecutor Doreen Lloyd said during cross-examination that Kennedy “didn’t take the time or the care” to check the label on the medication and asked if she would agree that was careless.


“I would,” Kennedy said.


And she asked if the pill really “overtook you without warning.”


“Yes,” Kennedy said.


Lefcourt asked her about her big-family upbringing. Kennedy said they lived near Washington because, “Daddy was the attorney general.”


“My mother raised us because my father died when I was 8,” she said. “He was killed when he was running for president.”


She answered several questions about her work as president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, but Justice Robert Neary cut them off, saying, “I’m not sure this is the right forum to go into exhaustive detail.”


Kennedy had mentioned the possibility of a pill mix-up to police at the accident scene. But Lloyd noted that a few days after the accident, she issued a statement saying her doctors believed a seizure, stemming from an early brain injury, caused the accident. A week later, after blood tests revealed the sleeping drug in her blood, she issued another statement saying, “It now appears that my first instinct was correct.”


Lloyd accused her of switching defenses and using a public relations firm because she was worried “what the public would think about you.”


Kennedy said she “wanted the truth to be out.”


Lloyd also mentioned that in 2010, Kennedy refilled a 30-tablet sleeping pill prescription 38 days after getting the original prescription.


“Do you recall taking zolpidem on an everyday basis?” the prosecutor asked.


“Absolutely not,” Kennedy said. She said she may have lost the first bottle and acknowledged it was a dangerous thing to misplace.

Kerry Kennedy says drug overtook her without warning before accident

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Feb. 26 (UPI) — Kerry Kennedy said at her White Plains, N.Y., drugged-driving trial Wednesday that prescription medication she took caused her to crash her car.

Kennedy, 54, daughter for former U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy and the ex-wife of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, testified she did not intentionally take the prescription sleep aid Ambien on the morning of her July 2013 accident.

She is accused of driving under the influence of drugs in the incident in which her car struck the back of a truck.

Prosecutor Doreen Lloyd tried to portray Kennedy as a frequent Ambien user who should have known the drug’s effects, but Kennedy responded she never thinks about how the pill affects her before she goes to bed.

“Ambien overtook you without warning?” Lloyd asked.

“Yes,” Kennedy replied.

Within minutes of beginning her testimony, Kennedy mentioned her late father, ABC News reported, adding her defense team has used her famous lineage as a focal point in attempting to present her as an upstanding citizen with no drug or alcohol issues.

Kennedy faces up to a year in jail if convicted, but has no prior arrests.

RFK daughter says sleeping pill, car crash memories ‘jumbled’

<!–RFK daughter says sleeping pill, car crash memories ‘jumbled’ | GlobalPost

You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.



<!– PRIMARY NAVIGATION –>

Enlarge

By Victoria Cavaliere

WHITE PLAINS, New York (Reuters) – The daughter of assassinated U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy told a court on Wednesday that she had not realized she had taken a sleeping pill before side-swiping a truck in 2012 and that her memory of the incident was “jumbled.”

Kerry Kennedy said at the third day of her impaired driving trial that she had intended to take a thyroid medication before getting into her silver Lexus, rather than the sleeping aid zolpidem, known by its brand name Ambien.

A toxicology report showed the sleeping drug in her bloodstream.

She said she hardly remembered operating her vehicle and had no memory of the accident north of New York City.

“If I realized I was impaired I would have pulled over,” she said. “My memories at that time are really jumbled.”

Earlier in the trial, prosecutors said Kennedy should have realized she had taken the sleeping pill before the July 13, 2012, accident, in which no one was injured.

Police found Kennedy, the ex-wife of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, slumped over the wheel of her car, groggy and disoriented.

She passed an alcohol test at the scene, registering zero alcohol in her system, police witnesses testified earlier this week at Westchester County Court.

Kennedy, 54, had driven more than 5 miles at high speed, swerving into other lanes and smashing into a tractor-trailer on a highway about 35 miles north of New York City and then driving away. The truck’s driver, Rocco Scuiletti of Poughkeepsie, was also charged with leaving the scene of an accident.

Kennedy said her two medications were on her kitchen counter the morning of the event and she grabbed the wrong bottle without noticing.

Prosecutors grilled Kennedy about how frequently she used Ambien, which she said she began using occasionally 10 years ago. Kennedy agreed with Westchester County Assistant District Attorney Doreen Lloyd’s assessment that it was “careless” to grab a medication without looking at the label.

Kennedy said that before she got behind the wheel of her car, she had not experienced any dizziness or drowsiness that would have alerted her to the ingestion of the pill.

“So this Ambien pill overtook you without warning?” Lloyd asked.

“Yes,” Kennedy replied.

Friends and family including mother Ethel Kennedy, the widow of the slain senator, have been in the courtroom all week to support Kennedy, an author and human rights activist.

Defense attorneys said the drug’s effects were so quick and so powerful that Kennedy was essentially “sleep driving” and was unaware of her actions.

“I never in my entire life had experienced this,” Kennedy said. “I really just don’t remember.”

A jury trial for an impaired driving charge, an unclassified misdemeanor, is unusual. The charge carries up to a year in jail, but with no prior record a defendant is unlikely to serve an time behind bars, court officials said.

(Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Nick Zieminski and David Gregorio)

Copyright Thomson Reuters, 2014.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/140226/rfk-daughter-says-sleeping-pill-car-crash-memories-jumbled



Copyright 2014 GlobalPost – International News


,containerID: ‘divGigyaLoginTop’
,showEditLink: ‘TRUE’
}

var login_params_top=
{
showTermsLink:false // remove ‘Terms’ link
,hideGigyaLink:true // remove ‘Gigya’ link
,height: 20
,width: 145
,UIConfig: ”
,containerID: ‘divGigyaLoginTop’
,pendingRegistration: ‘FALSE’
}

var showSiteFollowBarUI_params=
{
containerID: ‘social-logo-buttons’,
iconSize: 22,
buttons: [
{
provider: 'facebook',
actionURL: 'https://www.facebook.com/globalpost',
title: 'Support GlobalPost on Facebook',
action: 'dialog'
},
{
provider: 'twitter',
title: 'Follow @globalpost',
action: 'dialog',
followUsers: 'globalpost'
},
{
provider: 'linkedin',
actionURL: 'http://www.linkedin.com/today/globalpost.com',
title: 'Follow GlobalPost'
},
{
provider: 'googleplus',
actionURL: 'https://plus.google.com/117899428893829482065',
title: 'Add GlobalPost to your circles'
},
{
provider: 'rss',
actionURL: 'http://www.globalpost.com/feed/list',
title: 'GlobalPost RSS Feeds'
}
]
}

// function to populate name and photo box in header of page
function renderUI(res) {
if(document.getElementById(“profile”)){
if (res.user != null res.user.isConnected) {
document.getElementById(“name”).innerHTML = res.user.nickname;
if (res.user.thumbnailURL.length 0)
document.getElementById(“photo”).src = res.user.thumbnailURL;
else
document.getElementById(“photo”).src = “http://cdn.gigya.com/site/images/bsAPI/Placeholder.gif”;
document.getElementById(“profile”).style.display = “block”;
document.getElementById(“gig-logout”).style.display = “block”;
document.getElementById(“gigya-login-message”).style.display = “none”;
document.getElementById(“gigya-login-text”).style.display = “block”;
} else {
document.getElementById(“profile”).style.display = “none”;
document.getElementById(“gig-logout”).style.display = “none”;
document.getElementById(“gigya-login-message”).style.display = “block”;
document.getElementById(“gigya-login-text”).style.display = “none”;
document.getElementById(“name”).innerHTML = “”;
}
}

}

// Logout from Gigya platform. This method is activated when “Logout” button is clicked
function logoutFromGS() {
gigya.socialize.logout(); // logout from Gigya platform
}

Drupal.behaviors.gigyaHeaderUserInfo = function (context) {
gigya.socialize.showAddConnectionsUI(connect_params_top);
gigya.socialize.showFollowBarUI(showSiteFollowBarUI_params);
//gigya.socialize.showLoginUI(login_params_top);

// get user info
gigya.socialize.getUserInfo({ callback: renderUI });

// register for connect status changes
gigya.socialize.addEventHandlers({onConnectionAdded: renderUI, onConnectionRemoved: renderUI });

};

//–

Kerry Kennedy says she has no memory of accident

— Kerry Kennedy testified at her drugged-driving trial Wednesday that she has no memory of swerving into a tractor-trailer on a suburban New York highway and never sensed that she was becoming impaired after accidentally taking a sleeping pill.

“If I realized I was impaired I would have pulled over,” said Kennedy, ex-wife of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and daughter of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

She was arrested in July 2012 after her car hit the truck near her home outside New York City. She kept driving to the next exit, where she was found slumped over the steering wheel and failed sobriety tests.

The prosecution argues that even if she took the sleeping pill accidentally, Kennedy violated the law by failing to pull over when it took effect.

Taking the stand on the third day of her trial in White Plains, Kennedy said she remembers the first part of her drive that day but has no memory of the interval between when she got on the highway and when she stopped at the exit.

She said she was confused when a man knocked on the window of her Lexus and asked if she was all right.

“He said, ‘Have you been in an accident?’” Kennedy said. “And I said, ‘No,’ because as far as I was concerned I hadn’t been in an accident.”

Kennedy testified earlier Wednesday that she accidentally took a sleeping pill that morning.

“I thought I was taking Synthroid, my thyroid medication,” she said. But because blood tests revealed a small amount of the sleeping drug zolpidem, “I must have taken the sleeping medication by mistake.”

Kennedy said she has taken the thyroid medication every day since 1991 and takes the sleeping pills to adjust to time changes when she travels.

Kennedy, 54, said the sleeping pills were on the kitchen counter, near the thyroid pills, on the morning of the accident because she was planning a trip.

Defense lawyer Gerald Lefcourt showed the jury two photographs — one of the two similar pill bottles and one of the two types of pill. Both pills were light-colored and oblong, but one was slightly longer than the other.

Prosecutor Doreen Lloyd said during cross-examination that Kennedy “didn’t take the time or the care” to check the label on the medication and asked if she would agree that was careless.

“I would,” Kennedy said.

And she asked if the pill really “overtook you without warning.”

“Yes,” Kennedy said.

Lefcourt asked her about her big-family upbringing. Kennedy said they lived near Washington because, “Daddy was the attorney general.”

“My mother raised us because my father died when I was 8,” she said. “He was killed when he was running for president.”

She answered several questions about her work as president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, but Justice Robert Neary cut them off, saying, “I’m not sure this is the right forum to go into exhaustive detail.”

Kennedy had mentioned the possibility of a pill mix-up to police at the accident scene. But Lloyd noted that a few days after the accident, she issued a statement saying her doctors believed a seizure, stemming from an early brain injury, caused the accident. A week later, after blood tests revealed the sleeping drug in her blood, she issued another statement saying, “It now appears that my first instinct was correct.”

Lloyd accused her of switching defenses and using a public relations firm because she was worried “what the public would think about you.”

Kennedy said she “wanted the truth to be out.”

Lloyd also mentioned that in 2010, Kennedy refilled a 30-tablet sleeping pill prescription 38 days after getting the original prescription.

“Do you recall taking zolpidem on an everyday basis?” the prosecutor asked.

“Absolutely not,” Kennedy said. She said she may have lost the first bottle and acknowledged it was a dangerous thing to misplace.

Kerry Kennedy says she has no memory of accident

Kerry Kennedy, center, leaves Westchester County courthouse with family members Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, in White Plains, N.Y. Kennedy testified at her drugged-driving trial Wednesday that she has no memory of swerving and hitting a tractor-trailer on a suburban New York highway and did not realize she was impaired when she got behind the wheel. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Kerry Kennedy, center, leaves Westchester County courthouse with family members Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, in White Plains, N.Y. Kennedy testified at her drugged-driving trial Wednesday that she has no memory of swerving and hitting a tractor-trailer on a suburban New York highway and did not realize she was impaired when she got behind the wheel. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)


WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) – Kerry Kennedy testified at her drugged-driving trial Wednesday that she has no memory of swerving into a tractor-trailer on a suburban New York highway and never sensed that she was becoming impaired after accidentally taking a sleeping pill.

“If I realized I was impaired I would have pulled over,” said Kennedy, ex-wife of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and daughter of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

She was arrested in July 2012 after her car hit the truck near her home outside New York City. She kept driving to the next exit, where she was found slumped over the steering wheel and failed sobriety tests.

The prosecution argues that even if she took the sleeping pill accidentally, Kennedy violated the law by failing to pull over when it took effect.

Taking the stand on the third day of her trial in White Plains, Kennedy said she remembers the first part of her drive that day but has no memory of the interval between when she got on the highway and when she stopped at the exit.

She said she was confused when a man knocked on the window of her Lexus and asked if she was all right.

“He said, ‘Have you been in an accident?’” Kennedy said. “And I said, ‘No,’ because as far as I was concerned I hadn’t been in an accident.”

Kennedy testified earlier Wednesday that she accidentally took a sleeping pill that morning.

“I thought I was taking Synthroid, my thyroid medication,” she said. But because blood tests revealed a small amount of the sleeping drug zolpidem, “I must have taken the sleeping medication by mistake.”

Kennedy said she has taken the thyroid medication every day since 1991 and takes the sleeping pills to adjust to time changes when she travels.

Kennedy, 54, said the sleeping pills were on the kitchen counter, near the thyroid pills, on the morning of the accident because she was planning a trip.

Defense lawyer Gerald Lefcourt showed the jury two photographs – one of the two similar pill bottles and one of the two types of pill. Both pills were light-colored and oblong, but one was slightly longer than the other.

Prosecutor Doreen Lloyd said during cross-examination that Kennedy “didn’t take the time or the care” to check the label on the medication and asked if she would agree that was careless.

“I would,” Kennedy said.

And she asked if the pill really “overtook you without warning.”

“Yes,” Kennedy said.

Lefcourt asked her about her big-family upbringing. Kennedy said they lived near Washington because, “Daddy was the attorney general.”

“My mother raised us because my father died when I was 8,” she said. “He was killed when he was running for president.”

She answered several questions about her work as president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, but Justice Robert Neary cut them off, saying, “I’m not sure this is the right forum to go into exhaustive detail.”

Kennedy had mentioned the possibility of a pill mix-up to police at the accident scene. But Lloyd noted that a few days after the accident, she issued a statement saying her doctors believed a seizure, stemming from an early brain injury, caused the accident. A week later, after blood tests revealed the sleeping drug in her blood, she issued another statement saying, “It now appears that my first instinct was correct.”

Lloyd accused her of switching defenses and using a public relations firm because she was worried “what the public would think about you.”

Kennedy said she “wanted the truth to be out.”

Lloyd also mentioned that in 2010, Kennedy refilled a 30-tablet sleeping pill prescription 38 days after getting the original prescription.

“Do you recall taking zolpidem on an everyday basis?” the prosecutor asked.

“Absolutely not,” Kennedy said. She said she may have lost the first bottle and acknowledged it was a dangerous thing to misplace.