Make sure to take some Ambien before you begin your next crime spree.
Recently Kevin Robertson, who, along with 44 million other Americans (roughly 14% of us), popped an Ambien before beddy bed time, woke up in jail facing criminal charges from a noninjury crash in Santa Clara, California, including driving under the influence of a drug and resisting arrest.
He claims he had no memory of what happened.
His attorney, Jennifer Redding, argued he was “sleep driving,” a rare but recognized size effect of the little white pill. The jury found him not guilty, even overlooking the fact that he is on parole for bank robbery!
The same defense was used by Patrick Kennedy, a former congressman and son of the late Edward Kennedy, after another seemingly inexplicable car crash.
The Ambien defense has been nicknamed “the zombie defense,”…
…because the drug in some cases can induce seemingly sentient behavior like sleep driving, making phone calls and preparing and eating food. Not just eating food, mind you, but preparing it!
Or, as the FDA might describe it, the putting together of a Denver omelet “after ingestion of a sedative hypnotic, with no memory of the event.” That’s impressive. I couldn’t put together a Denver omelet fully awake by the bright light of day.
And you just know there are a ton of bf’s and husbands out there who have sheepishly apologized to their bed buddies the next morning for waking them up in the middle of the night for an unwanted sleep boinking – “sorry, hon, that was the ambien talking,” – least that’s what I plan to say.
But it’s not all Denver omelets and 3 a.m. sleep sex: in 2009, a Fresno woman fatally struck a mother of 11 children while on Ambien, and was acquitted based on the zombie defense. Another woman, Julie Ann Bronson, sleep-drove her Mercedes convertible and crashed, severely injuring an 18 month old girl. And even though she admitted to having 5 or 6 glasses of wine before popping the pill, a jury gave her 10 years probation when it could’ve given her 10 years behind bars. Her attorney, Patrick Hancock, says “It’s a legitimate thing – it really does affect people.” A jury agreed.
To all toddlers out there dealing with severe Ambien/booze related injuries: sorry! oops!
Back to Kevin Robertson, the former bank robber (and admitted heroin addict, btw). “Then it was 1:30 a.m. and I woke up shackled to a chair,” he said. “I’ve been guilty all my life of every crime I’ve been convicted of, but not this.”
Life is unfair, Kevin. Sometimes it sucks. I think Voltaire said that.
A gentle request: if you’re taking Ambien for the first time, or after you’ve been pounding shots all night, do the world a favor: strap yourself into bed with rope or handcuffs before turning off the light.