Seizure initially suspected in RFK daughter's car crash -NY expert

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. Tue Feb 25, 2014 3:22pm EST

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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. Feb 25 (Reuters) - Kerry Kennedy, daughter of assassinated Senator Robert F. Kennedy, was so disoriented after sideswiping a truck in 2012 that it appeared she had suffered a seizure, a New York state trooper testified on Tuesday at her impaired driving trial.

Trooper Bradley Molloy was called to the witness stand by the prosecution on the second day of what the New York press has dubbed Kennedy's "drugged driving" trial. He testified about examining her when she was found slumped over the wheel of her silver Lexus after the July 13, 2012 traffic accident.

Kennedy has pleaded not guilty to driving while impaired.

Molloy, who is a drug recognition expert, said she later told him she might have accidentally mixed up a sleeping pill with her thyroid medication before getting behind the wheel of her car en route to the gym.

Molloy said Kennedy, the ex-wife of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, passed an alcohol test at the scene, registering zero alcohol in her system. A toxicology report showed she had the sleeping medication Ambien in her system.

Kennedy, 54, had driven more than five miles at high speed, swerving into other lanes and smashing into a tractor-trailer on a highway about 35 miles (56 km) north of New York City.

She appeared disoriented and confused, possible signs of a seizure or stroke, Molloy told jurors in Westchester County Court.

"I was concerned a medical condition might have occurred," Molloy testified.

Her mother, Ethel Kennedy, widow of Senator Kennedy, listened from inside the courtroom.

Kennedy's lawyers said Monday during opening statements that she took the sleeping pill accidentally and never would have continued to drive her car had she recognized her mistake.

Prosecutors maintain that even if Kennedy accidentally took the pill, she broke the law by continuing to drive instead of recognizing she was a danger to herself or other drivers.

A human rights activist and writer, Kennedy has refused to take a plea deal in the misdemeanor drugged driving case.

The charge carries a possible sentence of up to one year in county jail, but with no prior criminal record, Kennedy was unlikely to face jail time, said an official at Westchester County Court said. (Editing by Barbara Goldberg and David Gregorio)

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