DOCUMENT: Celebrity, Crime

Kennedy On Chappaquiddick

Memoir recalls "inexcusable" behavior after deadly crash

Ted Kennedy

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Kennedy On Chappaquiddick

SEPTEMBER 3--According to press reports, Senator Edward M. Kennedy's posthumous memoir includes reflections on his "inexcusable" behavior and "terrible decisions" following the 1969 auto accident on Chappaquiddick Island that killed Mary Jo Kopechne.

Kennedy's upcoming book, "True Compass," apparently offers few new details about the tragedy, which was the subject of a Massachusetts Supreme Court inquest (the review ended with no additional charges filed against the politician). On the following pages you'll find the bulk of Kennedy's testimony during that January 1970 inquest.

Questioned by prosecutor Edmund Dinis, Kennedy recalled driving off a bridge and how he sought to rescue Kopechne from the submerged vehicle. He also testified about not calling police until the morning after the crash.

Kennedy recalled that when friends confronted him about not contacting cops, "I told them about my own thoughts and feelings as I swam across that channel and how I was always willed that Mary Jo still lived; how I was hopeful even as that night went on and as I almost tossed and turned, paced that room and walked around that room that night that somehow when they arrived in the morning that they were going to say that Mary Jo was still alive. I told them how I somehow believed that when the sun came up and it was a new morning that what had happened the night before would not have happened and did not happen, and how I just couldn't gain the strength within me, the moral strength to call Mrs. Kopechne at 2:00 o'clock in the morning and tell her that her daughter was dead."

As seen here, the inquest report also included a chart showing the path Kennedy's car took after he made a wrong turn down a dirt road leading to the Chappaquiddick bridge. (20 pages)