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This Day in History

World History

Friday, July 18, 1969. :   Senator Edward Kennedy, brother to assassinated President John F Kennedy, crashes his car off the bridge at Chappaquiddick Island, killing passenger Mary Jo Kopechne.

     Edward Kennedy was born on 22 February 1922, the youngest of the nine Kennedy children. He was being considered as a likely candidate for presidency in the 1972 elections, until the accident that took the life of Mary Jo Kopechne.

Kopechne was a former campaign worker for Kennedy's brother, Robert F Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968 whilst campaigning for the Presidency. On 18 July 1969, Robert Kennedy and Kopechne had been attending a party on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts, which was intended to be a reunion of those who had worked on his brother Robert's 1968 presidential campaign. After the two left the party together, the Senator drove his car off the Dike Bridge into tide-swept Poucha Pond. The car overturned and Kopechne drowned. Because Kennedy did not report the accident until the following day, there were allegations of attempted coverup. Kennedy later pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident. The accident caused a scandal that damaged his reputation, but had a limited effect on his political career.

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