fb-pixel Skip to main content

Photos: Looking back on the Chappaquiddick crash

Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s car after it crashed in Chappaquiddick, killing Mary Jo Kopechne on July 19, 1969. Globe Staff

Fifty years ago, on July 18, 1969, a crash involving a car driven by Senator Ted Kennedy killed Mary Jo Kopechne after the vehicle plunged off a bridge in Chappaquiddick on Martha’s Vineyard.

Here, we look back at photos of the events surrounding that crash.

Edgartown Police Chief Dominick Arena was the first to respond to the accident at the Dike Bridge on Chappaquiddick Island on the morning of July 19, 1969. Arena sat on the undercarriage of the submerged Oldsmobile driven by Kennedy, waiting for a Fire Department diver. handout
Bystanders examined the Oldsmobile shortly after it was pulled from the water off Chappaquiddick. The shirtless man at right is identified as John N. Farrar, the scuba diver who recovered the body of Kopechne.Associated Press
The house where Kennedy and Kopechne attended a party on the night of the fatal accident. Joseph Dennehy/Globe Staff
Kennedy and his wife, Joan, left an airplane after arriving back in Hyannis from Pennsylvania on July 22, 1969, when they attended Kopechne’s funeral. Associated Press
Kennedy stayed in Shiretown Inn on the night of the Kopechne accident. Edward Jenner/Globe Staff
Joan and Ted Kennedy walked past curious onlookers at the funeral for Kopechne, who was buried in Plymouth, Pa., on July 22, 1969. Associated Press
Joan, Ted, and Ethel Kennedy (right) attended Kopechne’s graveside service at St. Vincent’s Cemetery in Plymouth, Pa., on July 22, 1969. Thomas E. Landers/Globe Staff
Kennedy appeared on TV on July 25, 1969, as he spoke to the nation concerning the controversy surrounding the accident. In the 15-minute talk, Kennedy denied being under the influence of liquor when his automobile plunged from a narrow island bridge. He also dispelled rumors of immoral conduct between the two. He left the question of whether he should remain in office for further consideration by himself and the people of Massachusetts.Associated Press
A group of people on the ferry from Woods Hole listened to Kennedy address the nation about Kopechne on July 25, 1969. Elizabeth Jones/Globe Staff
Joan and Ted Kennedy left a courthouse during the Kopechne case on July 25, 1969.Ted Dully/Globe Staff
A local police officer ordered anti-Kennedy demonstrators to disperse on July 28, 1969. The protesters did not believe Kennedy was being 100 percent honest about the Kopechne case.Steve Van Meter/Globe Staff
Mail was unloaded at the Hyannis Post Office on July 28, 1969, most of it for Kennedy. Steve Van Meter/Globe Staff
A Hyannis Port teenager hurled eggs at anti-Kennedy demonstrators in Hyannis Port on July 28, 1969.Steve Van Meter/Globe Staff
Kennedy addresses reporters during the Kopechne case.
Kennedy, wearing dark glasses, talked on the phone on a dock at the Kennedy compound prior to boarding a yacht, “Marlin,” with other members of the Kennedy family for a cruise off Hyannis Port on July 29, 1969. Kennedy was in seclusion at his Squaw Island home, awaiting response from the people of Massachusetts to help him decide whether to resign from the Senate. He ultimately pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident.Associated Press