On July 18, 1969, Ted Kennedy drove his Oldsmobile 88 off Dike Bridge and into Poucha Pond in Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts, after a night of partying in nearby Edgartown. Kennedy was unharmed and returned to Edgartown as if nothing had happened. His cousin Joe Gargan was reportedly willing to take the rap for the wreck, but he was not going to be held responsible for a death!
In the morning, a body was discovered in the back seat of the sunken car—the body of Mary Jo Kopechne, one of the six unmarried women at the party the night before. The Edgartown police chief charged Kennedy with leaving the scene of an accident that caused personal injury. Kennedy pleaded guilty to avoid a trial, but his sentence was suspended. The public did not understand this “accident,” and they demanded answers. The district attorney, Edmund Dinis, launched an inquest, but the proceedings were closed to the public.
The mystery surrounding this incident still baffles some to this day. Why was Kopechne in the rear seat? Why didn’t Kennedy call for help after the crash? Why did Kennedy flee to Edgartown? Why was Rosemary Keough’s handbag found in the submerged, inverted car on the ceiling of the front-seat compartment? Perhaps, as the author proposes, there is an alternative theory that would answer all of these questions.
About the Author
Accomplished scholar, researcher, and professor Donald Frederick Nelson received his bachelor of science, master of science, and doctorate in physics from the University of Michigan. Nelson taught introductory physics at the University of Michigan as both a teaching fellow and postdoctoral fellow. He also taught physics at the University of Southern California and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Nelson was a visiting lecturer for the electrical engineering department at Princeton University and a visiting professor for the mathematics department of Cairo University. He lives with his wife, Margaret, in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Kennedy’s Second Passenger Revealed
By Donald Frederick Nelson
HISTORY / United States / 20th Century
HISTORY / United States / State & Local / New England
224 pp. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
20 photos/maps Notes Index