On This Day…


July 18, 1969

U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy drives his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick island, Massachusetts. He swam to safety; however, his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne drowned in the car. He then spent the night in a hotel and reported the accident to police in the morning. He received a two-month suspended sentence and had his license suspended for leaving the scene of the accident.
The two had been attending a party for six girls that had served on Robert F. Kennedy‘s presidential campaign. Kennedy stated Kopechne asked for a ride back to her hotel. However, she left her purse and hotel key at the party. He got lost and drove off the side of Dike Bridge, which had no guard rails. He attempted to rescue Kopechne, but was unable to. He then walked back to the party and enlisted the help of several others to rescue her. Unsuccessful, he then returned to his hotel room and went to bed, not notifying authorities until the following morning.