One of history professor Paul Kennedy’s close colleagues, as well as Kennedy’s attorney and University officials, have come forward in his defense after he was charged with driving under the influence of a controlled substance last week when his car struck a Yale student. But state motor vehicle records support other charges that Kennedy was driving under a suspended license with no insurance in an unregistered vehicle at the time.
History professor John Gaddis said he called Kennedy late last Wednesday because his home phone was broken and he had been unable to contact his wife, theater professor Toni Dorfman, all day.
“I was out of town, the phone at my house wasn’t working, and professor Kennedy, a very good neighbor, got up in the middle of the night to check to see that everything was all right,” Gaddis said in an e-mail. “That is when the accident occurred.”
Kennedy’s car struck Marisa Green MUS ’06 last Thursday at approximately 1:15 a.m. on Bishop Street as she was exiting her car to return home. Kennedy’s attorney, Greg Pepe, said Wednesday that Kennedy had no alcohol in his system when the New Haven police arrived on the scene of the accident but was walking unsteadily due to a bout with polio as a young man and several leg surgeries, according to the Associated Press. Ann Carter-Drier, an administrator at Yale’s International Security Studies Center, said Kennedy underwent his most recent leg surgery about a week ago and has been walking with a limp since then.
Pepe said that while he is confident Kennedy can be cleared of the charges, he thinks the police department’s actions were understandable.
“They come across an accident at one o’clock in the morning and one of the individuals is walking unsteadily,” he told the Associated Press. “It’s hard to fault the police in this instance.”
Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles spokeswoman Kelly Manning said Kennedy’s insurance was canceled on Aug. 8, 2003. In response to the canceled insurance, Manning said, the DMV canceled his vehicle registration on Jan. 8, 2004, and suspended his driver’s license on March 17 of the same year.
Still, both Pepe and Yale officials have denied allegations that Kennedy was not licensed and insured at the time of the accident. In an e-mail to the News on Monday, Yale spokeswoman Helaine Klasky said Kennedy’s license is current and valid.
Pepe was unavailable for comment last night.
Court officials said Kennedy, who was released without bail, is expected to appear in court on Feb. 16.
— Staff Reporter Priya Raman contributed to this report.