Ted Kennedy drove a car into the water, then fled the scene as his passenger died. He only received a two-month suspended jail sentence.
The Chappaquiddick incident involved the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, a young colleague of U.S. Senator Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy, in a tidal channel on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts on July 18, 1969.
According to his own testimony, Kennedy accidentally drove his car off a bridge and into the channel, before swimming free and leaving the scene, and not reporting about the accident within nine hours.
Meanwhile, Kopechne had died in the car through drowning or suffocation. The next day, Kopechne’s body and the car were finally recovered. Kennedy pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident after causing injury and later received a two-month suspended jail sentence.
The incident became a national scandal, and may have influenced Kennedy’s decision not to campaign for President of the United States in 1972 and 1976.