1969: The Chappaquiddick incident

JP: A prominent married politician, a single woman, a night ride that ended tragically. This event was the summer before my salvation. Ted Kennedy’s behavior after the event was bizarre!

Read more about this incident here.


The impact of this incident on my life: I was a Kennedy supporter and more or less a naive liberal. I remember trying to defend Kennedy’s behavior to the men at the Monsanto Chemical plant where I worked that summer. Ultimately I concluded that Kennedy’s behavior was inexcusable and indefensible.

Updated: Kennedy Memoir Doesn’t Ignore Lows

In a memoir being published this month, Senator Edward M. Kennedy called his behavior after the 1969 car accident that killed Mary Jo Kopechne “inexcusable” and said the events might have shortened the life of his ailing father, Joseph P. Kennedy.

In that book, “True Compass,” Mr. Kennedy said he was dazed, afraid and panicked in the minutes and hours after he drove off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island with Ms. Kopechne as his passenger.

The senator, who left the scene and did not report the accident to the police until after her body was found the next day, admitted in the memoir that he had “made terrible decisions” at Chappaquiddick. He also said that he had hardly known Ms. Kopechne, a young woman who had been an aide to his late brother Robert, and that he had had no romantic relationship with her.

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