Kerry Kennedy says seizure, not drugs, caused driving accident

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 17, 2012 8:08 PM
Kerry Kennedy says seizure, not drugs, caused driving accident

By Lily Kuo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Kerry Kennedy, the ex-wife of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to a charge of driving while impaired by drugs and said her accident was caused by a "complex partial seizure."

Kerry Kennedy, 52, was found slumped behind the wheel of a white Lexus of Friday morning in the Westchester County town of North Castle an hour's drive north of New York City. A witness said she had hit a tractor trailer and left the scene.

According to a police report she was swaying, had trouble speaking, and told a police officer she may have accidentally taken a sleeping pill on the morning of her accident.

Speaking after her arraignment in local court, Kennedy said she was "confused and erratic" when she spoke to police and denied that her accident was caused by drugs.

"I have never had any history of drug or alcohol abuse," Kennedy, who is known for her work in human rights, told reporters outside the North Castle Court. She was flanked by members of her family and her lawyer.

Kennedy said she did not remember anything after entering a southbound highway from her home to go to the gym and before finding herself stopped at a traffic light with a police officer at her car door.

Tests at a local hospital soon after the incident showed no alcohol or prescription drugs in her system, she said, and further neurological tests led her doctor to believe she had suffered a seizure for the first time in her life.

"This accident was not caused by a sleeping aid, but a complex partial seizure," Kennedy said.

Results of urine and blood tests are still pending, a police report said. These would be subject of her next court appearance on August 14, her lawyer Robert Gottlieb said.

Kennedy's accident came two months after her sister-in-law and close friend, Mary Kennedy, killed herself. Mary Kennedy was the estranged wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the son of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy.

(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)