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Mary Jo Kopechne, Chappaquiddick, and the REAL Cover-up

January 21st, 2010 2 comments

Ted Kennedy's Car at ChappaquiddickCHAPPAQUIDDICK, MA: Tuesday’s earthquake in Massachusetts has brought to mind an incident now over 40 years old. Some visitors to our YouTube channel have reminded us about it with their comments on our video “The Truck That Ran Over Socialism.” It seems appropriate that I comment on the tragic drowning of Mary Jo Kopechne as I was there shortly after it happened on July 19, 1969. I believe there is a lesson yet to be learned regarding that tragic evening, a lesson worthy of our attention here at the NIP.

The Drowning. While vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard Ted Kennedy attended a party. He left the party early with a young girl, Mary Jo Kopechne, a staff member who served on his brother Robert’s 1968 presidential campaign. Kennedy took the unusual step of taking the car keys from his chauffeur, leaving his driver to fend for himself. Kennedy, driving back home with Mary Jo, left a paved road and made an abrupt turn onto a bumpy dirt road leading to a secluded beach. It was a dark night, with less than 1/4 moon for light. Kenney drove a considerable distance until he inadvertently drove off a bridge over what amounted to a drainage ditch for Poucha Pond. The car capsized and Kennedy escaped while Kopechne drowned.

Mary Jo KopechneI visited Chappaquiddick not long after the accident back in the summer of 1969. As an eye witness to the conditions of the roads at the time, I can personally testify that there is no way that Kennedy was “lost” or made a bad turn. The road was very bumpy (a condition not reported by anyone as far as I know). This road was barely a one lane dirt track. It was such a contrast from the 2 lane paved road that no one could have made the mistake of following that route and thinking it was leading back to the ferry for Edgartown.

Kennedy drove some distance on the dirt road before reaching the bridge, a distance long enough that both he and Mary Jo would have realized that they were on “the wrong road.” It took Kennedy to a beach that, even on the sunny day when I was there, was very secluded. That midnight Kennedy knew it would be deserted. Read more…