WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Kerry Kennedy testified at her drugged-driving trial Wednesday that she has no memory of swerving and hitting a tractor-trailer on a suburban New York highway and did not realize she was impaired when she got behind the wheel.
"No, if I realized I was impaired I would have pulled over," Kennedy said.
Kennedy was arrested in July 2012 after her car hit the truck near her home outside New York City. She drove to the next exit, where she failed a sobriety test, police said.
The prosecution argues that even if she took the sleeping pill accidentally, Kennedy violated the law by failing to pull over when it took effect.
Taking the stand on the third day of her trial in White Plains, Kennedy said she has no memory of the interval between when she got on the highway and when she stopped at the exit.
She said she was "confused" when someone who she thought was a police officer knocked on the door of her Lexus and asked if she was all right.
"He said, 'Have you been in an accident?'" Kennedy said. "And I said no because as far as I was concerned I hadn't been in an accident."
Kennedy testified earlier that she accidentally took a sleeping pill that morning.
"I thought I was taking Synthroid, my thyroid medication," she said. "I now know thanks to the tox lab that I must have taken the sleeping medication by mistake."
Kennedy said she has taken the thyroid medication every day since 1991 and takes the sleeping pills to adjust to time changes when she travels.
She said the sleeping pills were on the counter on the morning of the accident because she was planning a trip.
Defense lawyer Gerald Lefcourt showed the jury two photographs — one of the two similar-looking pill bottles and one of the two types of pill. Both pills were light-colored and oblong, but one was slightly longer than the other.
Prosecutor Doreen Lloyd said during cross-examination that Kennedy "didn't take the time or the care" to check the label on the medication and asked if she would agree that was careless.
"I would," Kennedy said.
Kennedy, 54, is the ex-wife of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and the niece of the late President John F. Kennedy.
Lefcourt asked her about her background and her work as president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights
Justice Robert Neary cut them off, saying, "I'm not sure this is the right forum to go into exhaustive detail."