Ted Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick IncidentBreaking News
tags: Ted Kennedy, Chappaquiddick
Late on the night of July 18, 1969, a black Oldsmobile driven by U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy plunged off the Dike Bridge on the tiny island of Chappaquiddick, off Martha’s Vineyard, landing upside down in the tidal Poucha Pond. The 37-year-old Kennedy survived the crash, but the young woman riding with him in the car didn’t. Though newspaper headlines at the time identified her simply as a “blonde,” she was 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, a respected political operative who had worked on the presidential campaign of Senator Kennedy’s brother, Robert Kennedy.
Kennedy later claimed he dove repeatedly “into the strong and murky current” to try and find Kopechne before making his way back to the cottage. He then drove back to the scene with his cousin, Joseph Gargan, and aide Paul Markham, who both tried in vain to reach Kopechne. But rather than report the accident to the police at that time, Kennedy returned to his hotel in Edgartown. As a result, Mary Jo Kopechne remained underwater for some nine hours until her body was recovered the next morning.
The incident at Chappaquiddick ended Kopechne’s young life and derailed Ted Kennedy’s presidential ambitions for good, but nearly half a century later, the details of what happened that fateful night remain murky. Conspiracy theories and questions endure. How did Kennedy end up driving off the bridge? Was he drunk? What were he and Kopechne doing together that night? Was there a third person in the car? Why did he wait so long to report the accident?
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