Police Probe Fuels Kennedy Controversy

Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., received three "notices of infractions" in connection with his early morning car crash near the Capitol, according to a police report.

The report by a U.S. Capitol Police officer said Kennedy drove his green 1997 Ford Mustang convertible into a security barrier near the Capitol shortly before 3 a.m. Thursday, and that Kennedy had red, watery eyes, slurred speech and unsteady balance.

Kennedy, 40, told the officer he was "headed to the Capitol to make a vote," the report said. It said he failed to keep in proper lane, traveled at "unreasonable speed" and failed to "give full time and attention" to operating his vehicle.

Kennedy spokeswoman Robin Costello acknowledged that the police report was filed, but said "we have no knowledge of any citations." Kennedy aides received the accident report Friday morning at his congressional office, said Costello, who is Kennedy's spokeswoman in Rhode Island.

Capitol Police had no comment Friday beyond a statement posted on their Web site, said spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider. That statement said, "The United States Capitol Police are continuing to investigate."

CBS News reports that Capitol Hill police on Friday were at the Hawk & Dove, a popular Capitol Hill bar as part of their investigation.

One source has told CBS News that an employee at the bar has said he did see Kennedy there.

The Boston Herald reported that a hostess at Hawk & Dove told the newspaper she saw him drinking in the hours before the crash.

"He was drinking a little bit," said the woman, who works at the Hawk & Dove and would not give her name to the paper.

According to the Herald, a bartender at the Tune Inn, which is next to the Hawk & Dove, also said Kennedy was spotted in the Hawk & Dove Wednesday, but Hawk & Dove manager Edgar Gutierrez said he was working Wednesday night and did not see the congressman. The paper says Kennedy refused to say whether he had been at the bar.

Kennedy was planning to return to Rhode Island on Friday in hopes of defusing the controversy surrounding the Thursday morning crash, including allegations he got special treatment from police who did not administer field sobriety tests.

Kennedy denies asking for special treatment. When he left his office at 10 p.m. Thursday night, he said, "I never asked for any preferential treatment." Asked whether he received it, he said "that's up for the police to decide."

As CBS News correspondent Joie Chen reports, Kennedy says he'd taken a prescription anti-nausea drug that can cause drowsiness, but consumed no alcohol, before crashing his car near the Capitol.

In a statement, Kennedy said the attending physician for Congress had prescribed Phenergan to treat Kennedy's gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and intestines.

Kennedy said that after working Wednesday evening he went home and took "prescribed" amounts of Phenergan and Ambien, another drug that he sometimes takes to fall asleep.


In his statement, Kennedy said he was apparently disoriented from the drugs when he got up a little before 3 a.m. Thursday and drove to the Capitol thinking he needed to be present for a vote.

"Following the last series of votes on Wednesday evening, I returned to my home on Capitol Hill and took the prescribed amount of Phenergan and Ambien," Kennedy said. "Some time around 2:45 a.m., I drove the few blocks to the Capitol Complex believing I needed to vote. Apparently, I was disoriented from the medication."

"At no time before the incident did I consume any alcohol," said Kennedy, going on to address questions about why he was not asked to take a sobriety test. "At the time of the accident, I was instructed to park my car and was driven home by the United States Capitol Police. At no time did I ask for any special consideration, I simply complied with what the officers asked me to do."

"I have the utmost respect for the United States Capitol Police and the job they do to keep Members of Congress and the Capitol Complex safe," he continued. "I have contacted the Chief of Capitol Police and offered to meet with police representatives at their earliest convenience as I intend to cooperate fully with any investigation they choose to undertake."

Ambien, a widely-prescribed sleep medication, has been blamed by many individuals for incidents involving driving, eating, cooking and other actions that happened when the patients were supposed to be asleep – actions they later said they could not remember.

Meanwhile, some are questioning the incident and the way it was handled by police, suggesting Kennedy received special treatment.

Louis P. Cannon, president of the Washington chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, who was not on the scene, said the congressman had appeared intoxicated when he crashed his Ford Mustang into a barrier on Capitol Hill.

"The officers on the scene, it is my understanding, smelled alcohol. And based on his demeanor and their experience, believed him to be intoxicated," Cannon told Chen.

Cannon also says officers at the scene were instructed by an official "above the rank of patrolman" to take Kennedy home.

A letter written by Capitol Police officer Greg Baird to Acting Chief Christopher McGaffin said Kennedy appeared to be staggering when he left the vehicle after the crash about 3 a.m. The letter was first reported by Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper.

Baird wrote McGaffin that two sergeants who responded to the accident conferred with the watch commander and were ordered to leave the scene.

He said that after the officers left, Capitol Police officials gave Kennedy a ride home. Last night, however, it was clear Kennedy's car is drivable, Chen reports.

But Cannon told CBS News, "I would think for the average citizen they would probably be taken into custody."

Cannon says police, depending on the circumstances do sometime take people to their homes but he believes "because of who he is, courtesies were extended... If it had been you or me, we would have left in handcuffs."

Kennedy spent time at a drug rehabilitation clinic before he went to Providence College. He has been open about mental health iss