Trucker in Kerry Kennedy crash is bitter

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 truck driver whose big rig was struck by Kerry Kennedy on Interstate 684 this summer bitterly criticized her Thursday, saying she didn't care how the accident ruined his life when she allegedly drove under the influence of the powerful prescription drug Ambien.

Rocco Scuiletti, 47, said that after the July 13 accident he lost his job at a Massachusetts trucking firm and fell on financial hard times. He defaulted on his auto loan and lost his car. He landed a job at another trucking company, but most of his salary now goes to making up missed child care payments for his three kids. He can only afford to live in an old mobile home on a friend's property in Poughkeepsie.

"I'm living like an animal," he said. "I doubt Kerry Kennedy knew about this and, if she did, I doubt she cares. She could step into my shoes and she wouldn't last 10 minutes. She's in that Kennedy bubble."


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Initially charged with leaving the scene of property damage after the July 13 collision with Kennedy, Scuiletti on Nov. 16 pleaded guilty to disobeying a traffic device, the North Castle Town Court clerk said. The court gave him a $130 fine.

He said he pleaded guilty because he didn't have enough money to pay a lawyer. Now he just wants to move on with life. "It's done with," he said. "Let me crawl out of my hole and let me do what I gotta do."

Still, Scuiletti had harsh words for Kennedy, 53, the daughter of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and the ex-wife of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

"I just hope the next time she steps behind the wheel, I just hope she's not hopped up on sleeping pills," he said. "She might kill someone."

Kennedy is facing a misdemeanor charge of driving while ability impaired. She has pleaded not guilty to the charge and is due back in court Dec. 4.

Kennedy's lawyer, William Aronwald, declined to respond to Scuiletti's comments.

But he said Kennedy mistakenly ingested Ambien before she started driving. "Under no circumstances was her ingestion of Ambien anything but an accident," he said.

She was found slumped over the wheel of her damaged Lexus SUV after the accident on the shoulder of Route 22 near Exit 3. Westchester County lab technicians who analyzed Kennedy's blood after the crash found zolpidem, the generic name for Ambien, in her system.

Kennedy has also said that a partial seizure she suffered while driving, not the sleep aid, caused the accident.

At her first court appearance after the accident, Kennedy apologized to Scuiletti for hitting his big rig. He accepted the apology.

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