Kennedy's Chappaquiddick Marks 40th Anniversary

Sunday, 19 Jul 2009 03:16 PM

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The 40th anniversary of the darkest chapter in Sen. Ted Kennedy's life passed quietly over the weekend.

On July 18, 1969, a car driven by the Massachusetts Democrat veered off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island and into the waters near Martha's Vineyard.

Kennedy escaped the submerged car with minor injuries, but his traveling companion was not so lucky. Mary Jo Kopechne, 28, was trapped in the overturned vehicle and drowned.

Kennedy did not contact police until the next day. He later pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, and was given a two-month suspended jail sentence.

The ensuing scandal dogged Kennedy's presidential aspirations, and he never was able to capture his party's nomination.

Kennedy, now 77, has largely withdrawn from public life since he was diagnosed in May 2008 with a cancerous brain tumor.

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