RFK daughter: 'Did not' realize she took sleeping pill before crash

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:52am EST

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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. Feb 26 (Reuters) - The daughter of assassinated U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy told a court on Wednesday that she had not realized she had taken a sleeping pill before side-swiping a truck north of New York City in 2012.

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.

Asked if she had realized her mistake while she drove, Kennedy replied, "No. I did not."

Prosecutors had argued earlier in the week that Kennedy should have realized she had taken the sleeping pill before the July 13, 2012, accident, in which no one was injured.

Kennedy, the ex-wife of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, passed an alcohol test at the scene, registering zero alcohol in her system, police witnesses testified earlier this week at Westchester County Court. A toxicology report showed the sleeping drug in her bloodstream.

Kennedy, 54, had driven more than 5 miles (8 km) 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 and then driving away. The truck's driver, Rocco Scuiletti of Poughkeepsie, was also charged with leaving the scene of an accident.

If convicted of driving while impaired, a misdemeanor, Kennedy could face up to one year in county jail. But with no prior criminal record, she is unlikely to face jail time, said an official at Westchester County Court. (Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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