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July 19, 2005


It was 36 years ago today. A drunk Teddy Kennedy drove his car into the water at Chappaquiddick, Martha's Vineyard. In spite of having life guard training, Kennedy left his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne in the car while he swam to safety. Mary Jo drowned. After several idiotic attempts to pretend it wasn't his car, Kennedy eventually admitted it was. Since the Kennedy family are worshipped as deity around those parts, a transparent cover-up followed, leaving the family of Mary Jo Kopechne devastated.

John Farrar, a scuba diver and captain of the search and rescue division of Edgartown's volunteer fire department recovered Mary Jo's body, and sated that she had survived the crash into the water and had lived for some time afterward, but had been unable to get out of the car. Because Kennedy failed to help and failed to even notify the police so a rescue attempt could be made, the girl drowned.

In 1973 Kennedy had the unmitigated gall to say, “Do we operate under a system of equal justice under law? Or is there one system for the average citizen and another for the high and mighty?”

George Killen, the State Police Detective-Lieutenant who investigated the accident, said that Senator Kennedy “killed that girl the same as if he put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger.”

The accident happened at 12:40am. Kennedy walked past numerous houses to return to the Lawrence Cottage where he was staying, at 1:20am. He then contacted his lawyers, without attempting to call the police so a rescue attempt could be made. Kennedy, Joseph Gargan, Kennedy's cousin and lawyer and Paul Markham, another lawyer, returned to the bridge to see if Mary Jo were still alive. At 2:00am after trying to delay his attorneys from calling the police, Kennedy blurted out that he would contact them, and dove into the water to swim across to Edgerton. At 2:25 Kennedy was seen at the Shiretown Inn in Edgartown. He asked a clerk what time it was, then left. No one had yet called the police.

Three days before the Kennedy accident, The Boston Herald Traveler had run a story about a New Hampshire woman who had spent five hours in a submerged automobile. Amazed to find the driver unconscious but alive, police rushed the victim to a hospital where she was given respiration and treated for immersion. Doctors said an air bubble trapped inside the car had saved her life.

John Farrar, the rescue diver who examined the Chappaquiddick accident scene, was convinced that Mary Jo Kopechne had not only survived the crash, but had also lived for some time by breathing a pocket of trapped air. Farrar did not believe that she had drowned, but instead had died by asphyxiation as the oxygen in the air she was breathing was used up and replaced with carbon dioxide. "She was alive, easily an hour, maybe two," he said.

It is conceivable that at this time Mary Jo might still have been alive. But Kennedy's plan was to pretend he was never driving the car. He assumed his lawyers would report the girl missing, and the police would assume she had been driving. The lawyers had been told, by Kennedy, that he would contact the police, so when they next saw him at 7:45am, the police still had not been called.

At 8:00am two fishermen discovered the car, and the authorities were called.

When the body of Mary Jo Kopechne was removed from the water, [Police Chief Dominick] Arena scrutinized her pale lifeless face. The mouth was open, teeth gritted in a death grimace. Otherwise, he said, "She appeared normal in the sense that there were no injuries that I could see."

When confronted later that morning, Kennedy admitted to being the driver of the car. In the end, though, the Kennedy money and power allowed Teddy Kennedy to get away with Mary Jo Kopechne's death, and the subsequent crimes, to go unpunished.

Coverage: Michelle Malkin, PoliPundit, GM's Corner, Curiouser and Curiouser

Posted by Danny Carlton at July 19, 2005 09:24 AM

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Good post on Chappaquiddick. Teddy sure is a piece of work.

Posted by: THIRDWAVEDAVE at July 19, 2005 02:39 PM

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