In a life already darkened by the tragic deaths of his brothers, the Chappaquiddick episode was a constant shadow over Senator Ted Kennedy's career. In 1969 the young Senator from Massachusetts was being considered as a possible candidate for President, but that fell apart after a car accident on Chappaquiddick Island in Martha's Vineyard. Late on the night of July 18, Kennedy was driving with Mary Jo Kopechne, a young staffer from his late brother Robert's presidential campaign, when his car went off a bridge. Kopechne drowned, but Kennedy escaped, and his ensuing behavior he fled the scene and didn't call authorities until the next morning left lingering questions over his culpability in the accident, although he never faced criminal charges. While any presidential ambitions were dashed, Kennedy easily won re-election to the Senate in 1972 and served until his death in 2009. To the end of his days, Kennedy rarely addressed the tragedy; in his posthumously published memoir, True Compass, he admitted only to making "terrible decisions" and having an acute sense of guilt.
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