The Crash of a Kennedy

Patrick Kennedy, who mysteriously plowed his Ford Mustang into a security barricade on Capitol Hill last week, once seemed the great hope of his generation of America's most storied political dynasty. He won his first election at 21: a college junior who had lived in Rhode Island only two years, Kennedy trounced a five-term incumbent to win a seat in the state legislature. In 1994 he was elected to Congress, and people predicted he would follow his father Edward into the Senate.

But Patrick's story turned stereotypically Kennedy in other ways. He has battled depression, drug addiction and bad publicity, as...

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