.. not state that he had been the driver. According to Gargan’s testimony, all Kennedy said was The car has gone off the Bridge down by the beach and Mary Jo is in it. Stranger still is that there was no conversation between the three on the way to the Bridge, and that neither Gargan nor Markham appeared to have looked at Kennedy to see if he needed medical treatment. (When he had told Ray LaRosa to get Gargan and Markham, Kennedy was sitting in the back of a rented white Valiant, outside the Lawrence cottage). He remained in the back seat for the drive to the Bridge.
Many investigators have questioned whether the vast amount of damage to the car, including dented passenger doors, dented roof, bent steel roof bar, scratches on the hood, damage to the left rear view mirror and a cracked windscreen, could all have been caused by the car going off the bridge into the water. Author Kenneth Kappel said: There is a specific crease in the metal at the middle of the roof brim. That crease would require a direct downward localized force (some specific object) which simply could not have been created by entry into water. Because of the angle of the car’s entry into the water a direct localized downward force was impossible. The major point is that you can’t have both the bent roof bar and the deep side door dents from entry into water.
(YTedK) The bottom of Poucha Pond was soft due to the fact it had been recently dredged, so this couldn’t have caused the roof damage either. Kennedy stated he walked back to the Lawrence cottage to get Gargan and Markham to help. On his way back to the cottage Kennedy would have passed at least two buildings with lights on, Dyke House (the cottage leased by the Malms), and another house across Dike Road. Furthermore, the fire station was near the Lawrence cottage. Why wouldn’t Kennedy have stopped for help? Kennedy stated that he saw no lights on his walk back to the Lawrence cottage. These lights may have been an oversight due to a hastily-constructed cover-up story.
As the brother of a President and an Attorney General, Kennedy had a reputation to uphold. He was and is a devoted and effective public servant. (Adams and Crimp 180) The testimonies of Sylvia Malm, Christopher Look, and Ross Richards also throw doubt on Kennedy’s time frame and whether he was even in the car. Sylvia Malm’s daughter had been reading in her bedroom under an open window on Friday July 19. The window faced directly towards the Bridge, and was roughly 200 yards away from it .
At about 11:15-11:45 p.m. on the Friday night she had heard a car ‘going fairly fast’ on Dike Road, but nothing else. (YTedK) If a car had gone off that Bridge, Sylvia Malm’s daughter would have heard it. What of the possibility that the car went off the Bridge after Mrs. Malm’s daughter was asleep? Sheriff Christopher Huck Look’s testimony would seem to support this.
Look had been on duty at Edgartown Yacht Club on Friday night. Leaving the club at 12:25 on what was now Saturday morning he began to make his way home. Look had reached the intersection of Chappaquid*censored* Road, Dike Road and Schoolhouse Road. He estimated the time when he had arrived to be approximately 12:45 am. He then noticed a dark car coming towards him near the bend of the road and slowed down.
The car passed directly in front of Look and drove into Cemetery Road, a dirt road. In his revealing hearing testimony Look said: There was a man driving, a woman in the front seat, and either another person or some clothing, a sweater, or a pocketbook in the back seat what appeared to be a shadow of some kind. (McGinniss 565) Look thought that the driver was lost and walked up to the car to offer help. The car reversed towards him, however, and drove off at speed down Dike Road. Look remembered the car’s Massachusetts number-plate as beginning with L7 and ending with another 7. (YTedK) This was Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s car.
The same car he saw in Poucha Pond the next morning. What of Look’s strange testimony that there could have been another person in the back seat of the car? Either there was another person in there or there wasn’t. The vagueness of Look’s testimony was difficult to understand. Look’s testimony, however, does undermine Ted Kennedy’s chronology, for at the time he saw Kennedy’s car it was supposed to have been on the bottom of Poucha Pond for over an hour. (YTedK) Ted Kennedy’s inquest testimony yet again throws doubt on the fact that he was driving the car: Q. Did you at any time drive into Cemetery Road? Kennedy: At no time did I drive into Cemetery Road. Q.
Did you back that car up at any time? Kennedy: At no time did I back that car up. (YTedK) So just who was driving the car? And was there another person in the back seat? We may never know the answer. Ross Richards, who was also staying at the Shiretown Inn, had been talking to Kennedy on the morning of Saturday 20 July, the day after the accident. They chatted about sailing and Richards had observed nothing out-of-the ordinary about the Senator’s speech or appearance. Kennedy hadn’t mentioned the accident, said Leo Damore. Richards testified at the inquest that Gargan and Markham arrived looking damp though in an earlier police interview he had said they were soaking wet. Gargan and Markham then accompanied Kennedy to his room and Richards overheard loud voices.
(McGinniss) Many questions that will never be answered ultimately hold the truth to May Jo Kopechnes death. Why were Gargan and Markham wet or even damp at this time? Why had Kennedy been chatting in a normal fashion with no mention of the accident until they arrived? Was this the first Kennedy had heard of the accident? Had Gargan and Markham only just carried out their desperate rescue attempt instead of the previous night? Why wasnt an autopsy demanded? If this was the case it would certainly explain a lot. For one thing, it would explain why Kennedy waited until 9:45 a.m. on Saturday to report the accident. Kennedy, Markham and Gargan left the Shiretown Inn to catch the ferry across to Chappaquid*censored*, where Kennedy spent a considerable amount of time on a pay-phone at the landing there. Ferry operator Dick Hewitt and his assistant Steve Ewing were concerned that Kennedy was unaware of the accident and decided to tell him.
Jack Olsen said: They walked briskly up the inclined ramp and across thirty or forty feet to the shack, and as they approached, Kennedy seemed to sidle away from his companions and drift toward a line of parked cars. While the senator was still within earshot, Hewitt said loudly, Senator Kennedy, are you aware of the accident? Kennedy disappeared behind parked cars, but one of the other men said, Yes, we just heard about it. (McGinniss 540) A lot of the questions which arise about the accident would have been answered if the original doctor, Dr. Mills, had requested an autopsy. Ordinarily he would have done, but on advice from the district attorney’s office he was told it wasn’t necessary. Even without an autopsy, however, the state of Mary Jo’s body gave clues about what happened that night. First of all, the embalming mortician, Eugene Frieh, had noticed that there was very little water in Mary Jo’s lungs, far less than would be expected in a drowning case.
Secondly, forensic tests carried out on Kopechne’s shirt showed a huge amount of blood all over the back of it, and inside the collar. Death by drowning produces some blood, but certainly nothing like that amount. No injuries were apparent when Kopechne’s body was examined, but having been immersed in salt water for hours, they could certainly have healed. Kennedy had no visible injuries, and Chappaquid*censored* Police Chief Jim Arena noted: I found it hard to believe the Senator had been in a major automobile accident. His face bore no traces of any marks. He never appeared in any kind of physical discomfort, or in shock, or confused.
(McGinniss 544) Leo Damore notes that Kennedy’s family physician later diagnosed that Kennedy had suffered concussion, contusions and abrasion of the scalp and acute cervical strain. No one except Ted Kennedy knows what really happened that night on Chappaquid*censored*. Kennedy has consistently refused to deviate from his official version in interviews. The effect of Chappaquid*censored* on his political aspirations has been devastating due to his stand that there was no new information which frd doubts in voters minds. (Chellis 144) When he ran for the Presidency in 1980, Kennedy’s campaign was still dogged by Chappaquid*censored*. In a campaign address to the nation he responded to critics of his testimony by saying: My testimony is the only truth I can tell because that is the way it happened.
That is the way what happened? This is a statement which says everything and nothing. In the light of this, and all of the evidence above indicating that Kennedy may well not have been in the car, Kennedy’s original police statement, When I fully realized what had happened this morning, I immediately contacted the police, seems far more realistic than his later elaborate TV statement with its elaborate rescue attempts, and repeated statements of guilt. As stated earlier it would have been unusual for Mary Jo to have had so much alcohol in her blood. The position in which Mary Jo was found in the car indicated to John Farrar, the diver who recovered her body, that she had in fact not drowned, but rather had suffocated in her own carbon dioxide when an air pocket ran out. I believe that Ted Kennedy may wanted Miss Kopechne dead.
Kennedy may have felt that she knew too much from her hard work during brother Bobbys campaign or maybe she was pregnant. In the event that the truth is ever told, justice can never make up for a life of a young woman that was so cruelly taken away. Bibliography Adams, Cindy, and Susan Crimp. Iron Rose. Beverly Hills: Dove, 1995 Chappaquiddick: A Profile in Cowardice. 5 Dec. 2000.
Chellis, Marcia. Living With the Kennedys The Joan Kennedy Story. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1985 Fields-Meyer Macon Morehouse, Thomas, Rose Ellen OConnor, J. Todd Foster, Elizabeth Velez and Sandra McElwain. Family: The Torchbearer Once Overshadowed By His Brothers, Ted Kennedy Has Become the Rock of the Clan., People, Aug 16, 1999.
Nov 6, 00. Kunen, James S., Dirk Mathison, S. Avery Brown, Tom Nugent. Up Front: Frustrated Grand Jurors Say It Was No Accident Ted Kennedy Got Off Easy, People, July 24, 1989, Nov 6, 00, McGinniss, Joe. The Last Brother.
New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993 Oppenheimer, Jerry. The Other Mrs. Kennedy. New York: St. Martins, 1994.