NJ state Sen. Sandra Cunningham enters not guilty plea on DWI charge
State Sen. Sandra Cunningham's lawyer entered a not guilty plea to drunk driving and careless driving charges from a March 4 incident in Jersey City.
The lawyer entered the plea on her behalf at a hearing on Thursday.
According to the accident report, Cunningham, D-Hudson, was driving an Infiniti EX3 compact SUV west on Culver Avenue near Route 440 about 9:35 a.m. when she sideswiped two cars.
She told told police: "I was coming down the street when I was about to make a turn and instead turned into a snowbank," according to the report, which indicates her car was towed and impounded.
The case was moved to Bergen County to avoid any conflicts of interest. Cunningham's late husband, Glenn Cunningham, died while serving as mayor of Jersey City in 2004. She has served in the state Senate since 2007.
According to NorthJersey.com's report, the prosecutor in the case, Oakland Mayor Linda Schwager, had not reviewed a video of Cunningham's arrest. It has been posted by NorthJersey.com and NJ.com.
In the video, Cunningham asks for Public Safety Director James Shea to come to the scene during a sobriety test that she could not take because she was not feeling "steady." She is shown being cuffed and put into a police vehicle. Shea did not come to the crash scene.
When asked about Cunningham Thursday at the Statehouse, Senate President Steve Sweeney said he stands by the senator and said he thought she had a health issue and reaction to medication, according to NorthJersey.com.
Former Gov. Jim McGreevey told NBC 4 New York after the crash that he picked up Cunningham from the scene. He believed she had a bad reaction to medication.
If Cunningham, currently the Senate's deputy majority leader, wins re-election in November she could move to majority leader when Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, retires at the end of this session.
Michael Symons contributed to this report.