History

In History Today: DEMOCRAT SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY KILLS MARY JO KOPECHNE

by Olim Hodie, The Chicago Times

July 18-19, 1969

CHAPPAQUIDDICK ISLAND, MA – Democrat Senator Edward M. Kennedy (Mass) recklessly crashes into pond and kills 28-year-old passenger Mary Jo Kopechne on Chappaquiddick Island.  Kennedy also failed to report accident until following morning when crash was discovered.

Kennedy and Kopechne left a party on Chappaquiddick at 11:15 p.m. on Friday.  Kennedy claimed he intended to drive Kopechne to a ferry landing and then back to Edgartown, but that he made a wrong turn onto a dirt road leading to a one-lane bridge by accident.  Kennedy swam free after his car skidded off the bridge into Poucha Pond and claimed he tried but failed to save Kopechne from the submerged car.  Kopechne could have been killed anytime between 11:30 p.m. Friday and 1 a.m. Saturday, according to an off-duty deputy sheriff who claimed to have seen a car matching Kennedy’s at 12:40 a.m.  Kennedy fled the scene and did not contact authorities until after 10 a.m. Saturday after he received news that a diver recovered Kopechne’s body from Kennedy’s car shortly before 9 a.m. Saturday.

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