Thursday, May 22, 2008

Remember Chappaquiddick - 1

I Do Not feel sorry about Ted Kennedy's current health issues. I don't think incurable brain cancer could have happened to a more deserving guy. I do think it should have happened much sooner.

The following is from Wikipedia for those readers who were too young in 1969 to know what was going on. Another Kennedy gets away with murder:

The "Chappaquiddick incident" refers to the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, a former campaign worker for the assassinated U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York. Kopechne's dead body was discovered inside an overturned car belonging to Senator Ted Kennedy in a channel on Chappaquiddick Island. The incident became a national scandal and may have affected the Senator's decision not to run for President in 1972.

On July 18, 1969, Ted Kennedy attended a party on Chappaquiddick, a small island adjoining Martha's Vineyard and connected to it via a ferry. The party was a reunion for a group of six women, known as the "boiler-room girls"[1] who had served in his brother Robert's 1968 presidential campaign. Also present were Joseph Gargan (Ted Kennedy's cousin), Paul Markham (a school friend of Gargan's who would become United States Attorney for Massachusetts under the patronage of the Kennedys)[2], Charles Tretter (an attorney), and John Crimmins (Ted Kennedy's part-time driver). Kennedy was also competing in the Edgartown Yacht Club Regatta, a sailing competition which was taking place over several days.[1]
According to the testimony of the other party-goers, Kennedy left the party at around 11:15 or 11:30, and party guest Mary Jo Kopechne asked for a ride back to her hotel.[1] Kennedy drove his mother's 1967 Oldsmobile Delmont 88. A deputy sheriff later testified that he saw Kennedy's car on Dyke Road at 12:40 am, and that the driver sped off when he approached it.[3]
According to Kennedy, he made a wrong turn onto an unlit dirt road that led to Dike Bridge (also spelled Dyke Bridge), a wooden bridge angled obliquely to the road with no guardrail, and drove over its side. The car plunged into tide-swept Poucha Pond (at that location a channel) and came to rest upside down underwater. Kennedy later recalled that he was able to swim free of the vehicle, but Kopechne was not. Kennedy claimed at the inquest that he called Kopechne's name several times from the shore, then tried to swim down to reach her seven or eight times, then rested on the bank for several minutes before returning on foot to the Lawrence Cottage, where the party attended by Kopechne and other "Boiler Room Girls" had occurred.
According to one commentator, his route back to the cottage would have taken him past four houses from which he could have telephoned and summoned help; however, he did not do so.[3]
According to their later testimony, Gargan and party co-host Paul Markham then returned to the pond with Kennedy to try to rescue Kopechne. Both of the other men reported that they also tried to dive into the water and rescue Kopechne multiple times.[1] When their efforts to rescue Kopechne failed, Kennedy claimed that he said to the others, "You take care of the other girls and I will take care of the accident".[1] Kennedy decided to return to his hotel; however, the Edgartown-Chappaquiddick ferry (which connects Chappaquiddick to the rest of the island) had shut down for the night, so Gargan and Markham drove Kennedy to the ferry crossing and Kennedy then swam across the 500-foot channel, back to Edgartown, where he fell asleep on his hotel bed at around 2 am.[1]
According to Gargan and Markham, they then returned to the cottage and told the women nothing, at Kennedy's request.[2] According to Gargan and Markam's testimony, they assumed that Kennedy was going to inform the authorities once he got back to Edgartown, and thus did not do so themselves.[2]
Back at his hotel, Kennedy complained at 2:55 am to the hotel owner that he had been awoken by a noisy party.[2] By 7:30 am the next morning he was talking "casually" to the winner of the previous day's sailing race, with no indication that anything was amiss.[2] At 8 a.m., Gargan and Markham joined Kennedy at his hotel where they had a "heated conversation", even though the ferry operator did not see them take the ferry to get to Edgartown.[2] The three men subsequently crossed back to Chappaquidick Island on the ferry, where Kennedy made a series of phone calls from a payphone by the crossing to his friends for advice; he again did not report the accident to authorities.[2]
Earlier that morning, two fishermen saw the overturned car in the water and called the police.[1] A diver was sent down and discovered Kopechne's body.[1] The diver, John Farrar, later testified at the inquest that Kopechne's body was pressed up in the car in the spot where an air bubble would have formed. He interpreted this to mean that Kopechne had survived for a while after the initial accident in the air bubble, and concluded that

Had I received a call within five to ten minutes of the accident occurring, and was able, as I was the following morning, to be at the victim's side within twenty-five minutes of receiving the call, in such event there is a strong possibility that she would have been alive on removal from the submerged car.[3]

Police checked the car's license plate and saw that it was registered to Kennedy.[1] When Kennedy, still at the pay phone by the ferry crossing, saw that the body had been discovered, he crossed back to Edgartown and went to the police station: Gargan simultaneously went to the hotel where the Boiler Room Girls were staying to inform them about the incident.[2] Kennedy discussed the accident with several people, including his lawyer and Kopechne's parents, before discussing it with the police the next morning.

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