Kerry Kennedy crash trucker headed to trial

Rocco Scuiletti, 47, the Dutchess County truck driver

Rocco Scuiletti, 47, the Dutchess County truck driver hit by Kerry Kennedy's car, speaks to the media after a hearing in North Castle Town Court. (Sept. 7, 2012) (Credit: Timothy O'Connor)

The Dutchess County truck driver whose rig was sideswiped by Kerry Kennedy's SUV while she allegedly was driving under the influence of a sleep aid is heading to trial to fight a charge of leaving the scene of an accident.

"I feel I did nothing wrong," Rocco Scuiletti said after a brief appearance Friday morning before Justice Robert McGoey in North Castle Town Court. "I don't want the two points on my license."

Scuiletti, 47, has pleaded not guilty to leaving the scene of an accident without reporting the July 13 incident on Interstate 684. He said any plea to even a lesser offense would result in his license being penalized.


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"I have nothing to lose" by going to trial, he said.

Scuiletti said he kept driving down I-684 without reporting the incident because his truck was not damaged.

He faces a maximum $250 fine and up to 15 days in jail if found guilty, though jail sentences are rare in such cases. No trial date has been set.

Kennedy -- a Bedford mother of three, the ex-wife of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and the daughter of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy -- pleaded not guilty on July 17 in North Castle Town Court to the misdemeanor charge of driving while ability impaired by drugs.

After her July 17 hearing, Kennedy expressed remorse for what happened that day.

"I want to apologize to the driver of the truck, who I apparently hit," she said. "Northern Westchester is my home and I care deeply about my neighbors and my community."

Dressed in blue jeans and a denim work shirt, Scuiletti said Friday that he accepted her apology.

"It was nice of her to acknowledge what she did and what happened," he said. "I'm thankful it wasn't any worse."

Kennedy, 52, has denied that the prescription sleep aid Ambien found in her system caused the accident. She said a complete neurological workup that included an MRI revealed she suffered a "complex partial seizure," which led to her sideswiping the tractor trailer driven by Scuiletti, of LaGrange, at about 8 a.m.

Kennedy told reporters that she had no recollection of driving erratically southbound on I-684 that morning on her way to the gym. She swerved into Scuiletti's lane, police said, striking his truck. She then reportedly sped up and exited the highway at Exit 3 onto Route 22, where she came to a stop in her damaged 2008 Lexus SUV. A motorist called police, noting that Kennedy was slumped over the steering wheel of her vehicle on the side of the road.

A North Castle police officer found her outside the vehicle, conducted field sobriety tests, and then he and State Police arrested her.

"I remember getting on the highway and then I have no memory until I was stopped at a traffic light and a police officer was at my car door," she said in July. "In my discussion with the police officer, I was confused and erratic."

Kennedy has acknowledged telling police soon after the crash that she might have accidentally taken an Ambien pill instead of her daily dose of Synthroid, a medication prescribed to treat a thyroid condition.

A police blood test confirmed that she had Ambien in her system and she is slated to return to court on Tuesday.

Scuiletti was fired from his truck-driving job for a Massachusetts company as a result of the incident, he said. He has since been hired by another company. He declined to identify either firm.

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