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July 18, 1969 – The Chappaquiddick Accident

Following a party on Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts, then U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy drove his mother’s 1967 Oldsmobile Delmont 88 off of Dyke Bridge resulting in the death of his young passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne. The circumstances surrounding the accident are rather strange, starting with the fact that Kennedy did not report the accident until after it had been discovered by fisherman, some 8 hours later. Mary Jo was one of the boiler-room girls, who served Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign. The party was a reunion for these girls. When Ted Kennedy declared he was leaving the party Mary Jo supposedly had asked for a ride back to her hotel room. Along the way a police officer spotted the car parked on a dark road and tried to make contact but the vehicle drove off as the officer approached. According to Kennedy’s own testimony he got lost and accidentally drove off the side of the one lane bridge. He says he managed to escaped and tried to save the woman, unsuccessfully. He then walked back to the party, passing several homes in which he could have notified police, in order to talk to his friends. They returned to the accident scene where they each tried to make contact with the car to check on the passenger. Again unsuccessfully. Kennedy swam across the channel and returned to his hotel. In the morning he was reported as acting as if nothing happened. Upon learning that the car was discovered he contacted police with a statement through an aid.
It was later discovered that it appeared the woman had died of suffocation, not drowning, again raising suspicions. Kennedy later received a two month suspended sentence for leaving the scene of an accident.

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