The One In Which FW Does Original Reporting
Like, we presume, every single other member of the Yale and global academic communities, we here at FW have been waiting with baited breath for updates on the Sophoclean saga of Paul "Overstretch" Kennedy (see here, here, here, here, and here.) Discontent to wait, FW went ahead and got an inside scoop on what's really going on.
Now, even the uncontested narrative of events looks pretty bad for Kennedy. He is widely known to have long had a problem with alcohol, compounded by personal difficulties (the death of his wife, physical injury) over the past couple of years, which also saw him obtaining and using prescription pain killers. So there's a ready made explanation of how and why he managed to run his car into a pedestrian grad student in the Music School, and the New Haven Police Department's assertion that Kennedy had been drunk behind the wheel --- he has been charged with a DUI --- and was driving without a valid license sounded only too likely to be true. Conversely, Yale's statement that Kennedy was not drunk and had a valid license, and that the accident was just an accident, sounded like some pretty desparate PR.
But of course, Yale and the NHPD are not just describing the same events through different modes of presentation. Neither account is necessarily true, but since they contradict each other, at least one is necessarily false.
And folks, the bombshell here is that anonymous but credible sources tell FW that the Yale/Kennedy version of the story is the accurate one. Here's the unvarnished truth (according to our source): Kennedy was completely sober when he got in his car in his pajamas in order to drive no farther than around his block, so as to avoid an encounter with a neighbor. It was then that, through carelessness, mechanical failure, skidding, or whatever it was, Kennedy could not prevent the car from hitting the pedestrian. When the NHPD arrived, they administered a field sobriety test in the form of a request to walk a straight line --- which Kennedy cannot do, given impairments to his back and legs. Since he had gotten into the car without an intent to go anywhere, he had left his wallet in his house --- hence the lack of a valid driver's license.
But when he was taken into the police station, he passed a breathalyzer and his license turned out to be perfectly legit. In other words --- drumroll please --- another huge cockup on the part of the NHPD. Seriously yo, this shit's ridiculous, and it has internal consequences for Yale: next thing you know, some do-gooder asshole will start saying things like, "Yale has as great an obligation to protect its students as its professors from police misconduct," or "The administrators who will inexplicably and inexcusably defend a professor who is wrongly arrested by the NHPD but not a student who is wrongly arrested and assaulted should tender their resignations." I mean, somebody else, not myself, would say all that.