The daughter of Robert F. Kennedy has been in the headlines the past 1 1/2 years following a car accident that happened in July 2012. The cause of the car accident appears to be that Kerry Kennedy was driving after taking an Ambien, a powerful sleep aid that knocked her out. Although it appears that no one was injured in the accident, she was officially charged with drugged driving. The story behind how she was acquitted, however, is what will be of interest to New Jersey readers.
In New York, much like it is in New Jersey, it is against the law to drive while impaired by drugs. Kennedy likely knew that, but she also says that she did not knowingly ingest the Ambien. Instead, she argued that she thought she had taken medicine for her thyroid with her breakfast, not a sleeping pill.
Fortunately, a jury believed her. It would be hard not to, frankly, as many pills and pill bottles are virtually identifical. It would be relatively easy to take a sleeping pill instead of thyroid medication. In fact, ABC News reported that Kennedy may have realized what happened the night of her arrest, asking a friend to count the number of pills in her thyroid medicine pill bottle and how many she had in her Ambien pill bottle.
While there was no doubt that Kennedy had Ambien in her system, it was a matter of whether she knowingly ingested the substance or if she realized that she was impaired and continued to drive. According to Kennedy’s testimony, she can’t remember much of her drive before the crash.
Source: USA Today, “Kerry Kennedy acquitted of drugged driving,” Erik Shilling, Feb. 28, 2014