Kerry Kennedy 'Sleep-Driving' Defense: 'Deplorable,' 'Typical,' 'Not Buying It'

Patch file photo
Patch file photo
Kerry Kennedy was "sleep driving" when her vehicle collided with a tractor-trailer on Interstate 684, her lawyers told jurors, according to news reports. Monday was the first day of her trial for misdemeanor driving while intoxicated.

The defense team maintains that Kennedy, a member of the famous family, took a prescribed sleeping pill accidentally, mistaking it for her thyroid medication before she left her Bedford home and headed to the gym on the morning of July 13, 2012. No one was injured in the crash.

"During opening statements, Assistant District Attorney Stefanie DeNise said that even if Kennedy, 54, had taken the sleep aid unintentionally, she had a responsibility to pull her Lexus SUV off the road safely when she began to feel its effects," Allie Molloy and Lena Jakobsson write in this CNN story. "[Defense attorney Gerald] Lefcourt disputed that argument, saying Kennedy had no time to react. 'The zolpidem kicks in, it shuts her down, she's in a state of 'sleep driving,'' he said."

As the case continues in White Plains, folks across the area are weighing in. Patch asked Facebook users about the "sleep-driving defense." Here are a few of the responses:
  • "What a waste of time and money in this case .. Thankfully nobody got hurt," - Maureen Walsh Carlucci on the Nyack-Piermont Patch Facebook page
  • "Typical Kennedy sense of entitlement arrogance," - Jay Morgenthal on the Southeast-Brewster Patch Facebook Page
  • "I guess it's better than afluenza," - Neil Denaut on the Southeast-Brewster Patch Facebook Page
  • "She can say anything she wants. I blame it on the time that she was married to Andy Cuomo," - Wendy Mierbeth on the New City Patch Facebook page)
  • "Not buying it," - Esther Hillner Wagner (on the Pleasantville-Briarcliff Page Facebook page)
  • "Well, since her 'seizure' excuse didn't work (because she didn't have a seizure), she's trying something new. I think it's deplorable that Kennedy feels it's OK for her to operate an automobile under the influence of a drug because she did it accidentally and she was too doped up to know how doped up she was. How many drunks could use the same excuse that they were too drunk to know how drunk they were? Kennedy needs to accept responsibility for what she did (driving for miles impaired after sideswiping a truck) and accept the license suspension. No more special treatment!" - Lola LaValle on the Rye Patch Facebook page  

Do you agree or disagree with any of the opinions above? Have your say in the comments section.
papamat February 26, 2014 at 10:52 AM
Sleep - Driving, There is a very easy way to know if Kerry Kennedy took the wrong medicine or not. Look at both medicines and you will most likely see a difference in the size and shape of both medicines, if Kerry Kennedy could not tell the difference, SHAME ON HER and the court system.
Patric Kilkenny February 26, 2014 at 11:42 AM
I'm not sure that what Facebook interlopers express is anythiing but nonsense; though having seen the calibre of people who are on Facebook, I am not surprised. [Maybe Obamacare caused it.] Anyway, the problem with "sleep driving" probably falls way below the problem with texting, speaking on cell phones, putting your make-up on, combing your hair, etc., etc., etc. So the solution is not to give licesnes to women under 40 or over 41 [get it?] - so not at all!
Rob T February 26, 2014 at 11:52 AM
As usual, it can never be a Kennedy's fault.
jo February 26, 2014 at 12:05 PM
like the Clintons... go away.. and stay away ugh
lillian philbin February 26, 2014 at 01:10 PM
None of you are doctors or pharmacists so you shouldn't be weighing in with an uninformed opinion.
Craig Noor February 26, 2014 at 01:27 PM
Lillian philbin - a) you don't know that for fact, and b) let's keep going with your "no one who doesn't have x qualification is entitled to comment" reasoning - let's see - slaves wouldn't be allowed to complain about slavery because they had never been slaveholders, jews would not be allowed to complain about nazis because they hadn't been nazis ... I think that is enough for you to understand how ridiculous your comment is
Susan Palmer February 26, 2014 at 01:40 PM
Commenters: please note my previous post. I used to take both Ambien and thyroid medication (no longer need Ambien), around the same time frame as Kerry. The medications looked nearly identical to one another at the time, tiny, white, oblong. About a year or so ago, after Kennedy's accident, they changed the way the thyroid medication looks. Now it is blue, and either circular or oblong, and easy to tell from Ambien.
DG February 26, 2014 at 01:53 PM
what's the difference if she took the wrong meds or not. I suppose that infers that the pharmaceutical company is liable or something? What does an MD have to do with any of this? That's a completely obtuse thing to say. If Ambien can induce such a state in an individual, perhaps they should seek alternative meds. Am I to understand some people are less responsible for their actions than others? A working class guy in a late model Acura would have been spread eagle on the pavement with a cop over him with a club. Let's face it, the Kennedys don't exactly have a sterling record of conducting any sort of combustion engine. They should stick to their neighborhood well-heeled socialist tea-parties, where no travel is required, other than stumbling over to a neighbor's yard.
David Styles February 26, 2014 at 02:23 PM
To those whose comments were deleted: I have had multiple incidents with the Patch deleting my comments. If I do not pose a threat or use profanity I see no reason for the Press to suppress the voice of the Public. I find it incredibly unprofessional. As far as this case goes: why is there a case? She was driving...while under the influence...thats a DUI for any normal citizen, give her the charge!
Rods February 26, 2014 at 06:41 PM
ELLIE MARSHALL February 26, 2014 at 10:30 PM
Catherine Hay February 27, 2014 at 07:34 AM
She made a mistake, any of us could have done it, but she needs to take responsibility for her mistake...to add to her testimony about RFK being killed running for President was outrageous...that sad time has nothing to do with taking the wrong pills....admit guilt, take your punishment and get on with your life....stop whinning....you were luck you didn't kill someone or be killed yourself.
tom February 27, 2014 at 07:41 AM
It's amazing to me that Teddy left Mary Jo Kopechne to die in a ditch and here she is trying to drive away from the scene of an accident.
Genrl Quarters February 27, 2014 at 07:43 AM
What is she hoping for ? A reduced penalty ? She was impaired.....there's no question there. Does it legally matter in a court how one got in that condition (whether it be purposely or accidentally) ? I don't get it....anybody know ?
Guarags30 February 27, 2014 at 08:10 AM
Why pity her.. She is a normal citizen like anyone else. It shouldn't matter that her father was assassinated when she was 8. What does that have to do with her now. She is 54 years old she should know right from wrong. I come from a singe mother household and im not crashing into tractor trailers on the highway. I guess for now on if people get pulled over for drunk driving they could say "sorry I thought I was drinking water and I didnt know it was vodka"
karen m February 27, 2014 at 08:40 AM
So how come we haven't heard a peep from the truck driver? I would think he would have a part in all this commotion. Didn't he get charged with something which was unbelievable to begin with!?
NoName February 27, 2014 at 09:17 AM
Dita,. There is no freedom of expression in the PATCH. It is run by editors, who if they disagree or find the slightest reason to delete a post, they will. They do it all the time
dita von struedel van trappyodel February 27, 2014 at 09:48 AM
Thanks NoName. Shoot the messenger I guess.
Ret McDonald February 27, 2014 at 02:40 PM
The pill bottles look alike and so do the pills. The only reason she needed a lawyer is because of her name because courts can be political. Who would intentionally consume alcohol or take a sleeping pill before going to the gym? Not even a kennedy. God. Easy case. Can't believe the tax payers had to pay for it. New York lives for this stuff.
dita von struedel van trappyodel February 27, 2014 at 02:57 PM
Since my previous comments were deleted, for no good reason, let me reiterate my position. Ms Kennedy is a victim here... she was self medicating. Her ex husband, FAT Uncle Ted, doped up brothers, sisters, cousins and, of course, the Republican party, are to blame for her sorry state. She should be found not-guilty.
Atom February 27, 2014 at 03:28 PM
Again I will repeat also Dita ... This is not the fault of her FAT uncle Ted, her brothers OR THE RUPUBLICAN PARTY!... SHE drove the car, SHE took the pills ... AND SHE CAUSED THE ACCIDENT.. Stop blaming everyone else ...she has to take ownership.. NO ONE ELSE!
Genrl Quarters February 28, 2014 at 08:35 AM
@ Atom......Dita is just being sarcastic....it's just a joke. Don't take everything in these comments so seriously. Sheesh...
Atom February 28, 2014 at 10:31 AM
No Genri, ur wrong...sorry.. This is Ditas true beliefs..she has blamed the Kennedy men in her life and the republicans in her previous (deleted) comments and truly beliefs this to be true..I have a good sense of sarcasm, but this is not....she has repeatedly BLAMED everyone else and portrayed Kennedy as the VICTIM here....so refrain from scolding on this
Genrl Quarters February 28, 2014 at 11:04 AM
@ Atom.....that' so preposterous that I can't believe that....sorry.
Sue McCarthy Palmer February 28, 2014 at 11:09 AM
So happy the verdict was "Not Guilty"
Genrl Quarters February 28, 2014 at 11:51 AM
@Sue Palmer.....but for the grace of God, she could have just as easily injured or killed someone in her impaired state. That said, what is it that makes you "so happy" that she was acquitted ? Also, would you feel the same way if someone innocent was indeed killed ? To me it's kind of perverse that someone would be "happy" that a motorist was found to be so heavily impaired and is walking away from this matter.
Sue McCarthy Palmer February 28, 2014 at 12:01 PM
I am grateful no one was injured or killed, as I'm sure Kerry herself is. I believe acquittal was justified because she mistakenly took the wrong medication. This was very easy to do in July 2012 because the medications looked almost identical in size and shape. Recently, the thyroid meds were changed to a different color and shape, making mistakes such as Kerry made, far less likely. I realize that some may take the position that she was "under the influence" whether she realized she had taken a substance that would alter her ability to drive or not, and thus, culpable. I, however, feel that the distinction of not realizing she'd taken Ambien instead of her thyroid medication is an important one. A person who drinks and drives does so knowing impairment of their abilities is a possibility. Since Kerry did not know she had taken a substance that would impact her driving -- the thyroid medication does not -- I believe a verdict of "not guilty" was justified. I understand that those who disagree with me have a valid reason for doing so also.
Genrl Quarters February 28, 2014 at 12:07 PM
@Sue.....hypothetically, had she killed someone that morning would you still think she should walk away free ?
Atom February 28, 2014 at 12:10 PM
Sue ..this is a clear case of "DUIK"....driving under the influence as a Kennedy......separate justice systems..anyone else would have been punished
DG February 28, 2014 at 12:15 PM
justice is never blind. In the eyes of the law some are more equal than others.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »