On Tuesday, Kerry Kennedy, the ex-wife of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, appeared in a North Castle Court and pleaded not guilty to driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The charge is connected to a car crash caused by Kennedy on I-684 last Friday morning: according to law enforcement officials, Kennedy was discovered slumped behind the wheel of her vehicle after witnesses reported that she struck a tractor trailer and then left the scene.
By her own account, Kennedy was en route to the gym early Friday morning after having a cup of coffee. In her statement, she said "I remember getting into the highway and then I have no memory until I was stopped at a traffic light [and] a police officer was at my door." However, she also stated that her "mind began to clear up" not long after she was confronted by police.
"She started coming at me, like she didn't see me. She was starting to nod off, her head was bobbing toward the steering wheel," the tractor trailer driver told the New York Post. "I hit the horn. I couldn't go back into the breakdown lane because there was a disabled truck up ahead. I could either hit that truck or let her do whatever she was going to do...When she hit me, my left tire tore up her passenger-side door. She woke up a little bit, not a lot -- not the way you'd wake up if you'd just hit a 6,000-pound truck." After the accident, smoke was pouring out of Kennedy's Lexus and the vehicle had also lost a tire, but Kennedy continued to drive under the car broke down.
Following the crash, police say Kennedy was swaying and slurring her words, and she also failed several sobriety tests, according to the New York Daily News. Initially, she blamed her "confused and erratic" state on the possibility that she had unintentionally taken an Ambien sleeping pill instead of her usual thyroid medication. However, after appearing in court, Kennedy blamed her accident that led to her arrest on a seizure episode. "An MRI showed a hyper-density which appeared to be the result of a head injury I sustained some time ago," Kennedy said outside the courthouse. "A comprehensive battery of neurological tests showed symptoms consistent with right side of the brain injury. The accident was not caused by a sleeping aid but by a complex partial seizure."
Kennedy also claimed that hospital tests proved she did not have drugs or alcohol in her system, but a police report shows that urine and blood test results are still pending. Those results will be a pivotal part of her next court appearance, which is scheduled for August 14th.