A Profile in Cowardice
Ted Kennedy, the accident, and the cover-up


Chapter 1

"Teddy Kennedy was the weak kitten in the litter, never able to measure up to his brothers.
The accident at Chappaquiddick displayed his chronic immaturity. One problem Teddy has always had was keeping it in his pants - even when other people are around."
- Cleo O'Donnell - wife of former Kennedy campaign aide.

Map of Chappiquiddick and points of interest

- The following information is extracted from Senatorial Privilege by Leo Damore. Mr Damore conducted over 200 interviews, many with people close to the case, including police officers. He had access to the files on Chappaquiddick locked in the district attorney's vault in Barnstable, and to personal notes about the case kept by key investigators of the accident.
- A debt of gratitude is owed to Mr Damore for his meticulous research, and we highly recommend his book Senatorial Privilege to anyone interested in the whole story, particularly the legal maneuvering that allowed Senator Kennedy to go virtually un-punished for his part in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne.
- Some of the most powerful revelations in Senatorial Privilege were supplied by Joseph Gargan, who for nearly 20 years had remained silent and allowed himself to be made the scapegoat in the tragic death of Miss Kopechne.

Time-line of the events leading up to, and following the fatal accident
on the island of Chappaquiddick ~ July 19, 1969

Chapter 1 ~ The Regatta and the Party ~

Wednesday July 16, 1969

- Jack Crimmins, Ted Kennedy's chauffeur, arrives on Martha's Vineyard driving Ted's 1967 Oldsmobile Delta 88. He spends the night alone at the Lawrence Cottage on Chappaquiddick.

Thursday July 17, 1969

- Joseph Gargan and Paul Markham arrive in Edgartown aboard the Victura. They check into the Shiretown Inn, where Gargan had reserved rooms for them. Gargan had also secured rooms at the Inn for Ray LaRosa, Charles Tretter, and Senator Kennedy, who would arrive the following day.
- In a rented white Valiant, Gargan goes to Vineyard Haven to pick up the "Boiler Room Girls" who had arrived on the ferry and did not have a car. The young women are taken to their rooms at the Katama Shores Motor Inn.



Friday July 18, 1969

10:00 AM

- In the morning, the young women shopped the fashionable boutiques of Edgartown, and then went swimming at East Beach on Chappaquiddick.

1:00 PM

- Crimmins picked up Senator Kennedy at the Martha's Vineyard airport. They crossed over on the ferry to Chappaquiddick, and drove to the cottage on the island's only paved road - Chappaquiddick Rd.
- Ted changed into swim trunks, and then was driven down a dirt road (Dike Road) and across a narrow bridge (Dike Bridge) to join the others on the beach. After a swim, Kennedy was driven back over Dike Bridge, up Dike Road and returned to the cottage. He changed clothes, and was driven back along Chappaquiddick Rd to the landing, where Crimmins and the Senator caught the ferry back to Edgartown for the Regatta.
[- See Map -]
( Following the accident, Kennedy would claim that he had made a "wrong turn" onto Dike Road, and that his "unfamiliarity" with the road had led him to drive off the narrow bridge. )

2:30 PM

- Kennedy, Gargan, and Markham raced in the Regatta aboard the Victura, while the young women watched from aboard the charter boat, Bonnie Lisa. Also entered in the race were: Stan Moore (an automobile dealer on Cape Cod) aboard the Uncle Benny, and Ross Richards (a long-time racing rival of Teddy Kennedy) aboard the Bettawin.
- The Victura finished ninth, well behind the victorious Bettawin.

4:30 PM

- Kennedy and Stan Moore joined the victory party aboard the Bettawin, which was tied up at the dock. Gargan stayed behind on the Victura to put up the sails and batten down. Markham returned to his hotel room, having injured his leg during the race.
- Richards had run out of beer, and instead "highballs" were being served. Moore and Ted Kennedy had three drinks each. Moore remembered that specifically because they both were drinking rum and coke.
( Moore refused to comment on Ted's alcohol consumption when asked by authorities who were investigating the accident. "I was asked that question many, many times," he later said. "Ted had three rum and cokes in about twenty minutes, but I didn't think it was anybody's business.")
- By the time Gargan joined the party, the Senator was ready to leave.

6:00 PM

- Kennedy and Gargan arrived at the Shiretown Inn in Edgartown. Gargan ordered
6 bottles of Heineken beer from the inn's pub and brought them up to the room which he was sharing with the Senator. Jack Crimmins was also there. Markham had already checked out, since he was planning to spend the night at the Chappaquiddick cottage.

7:00 PM

- Once the men had finished their beers, Crimmins chauffeured Kennedy to the ferry, and they crossed over to Chappaquiddick. No one was at the cottage when they arrived, so Kennedy soaked in a hot tub while Crimmins made him another rum and coke.

8:15 PM

- LaRosa picked up the girls at their motel, and dropped them off at the Edgartown ferry landing. He parked his car at the Shiretown Inn, then walked back to the dock to join the others for the ferry ride across to Chappaquiddick. Gargan was waiting on the island with the Valiant to pick up the party guests.

8:30 PM

- The party guests arrived at the Lawrence Cottage. The party was made up of six married men and six single women, crowded into a small living room. The counter dividing the living room from the kitchen was stocked with liquor Crimmins had purchased "for a price" in South Boston.
- Investigators later located the package store in South Boston where it was confirmed that Jack Crimmins had purchased three half gallons of vodka, four fifths of scotch, two bottles of rum and two cases of beer for the party at Chappaquiddick.

- Gargan, suffering from an upset stomach, was not drinking alcohol. "Some people at the party had had quite a few, no question", he observed. "Frankly, everybody was a little bombed, except for LaRosa, who doesn't drink."

9:45 PM

- Dinner was served to the party guests at 9:45 PM. Gargan, who was in charge of preparing the food, had trouble starting the small grill, which had delayed the meal.
- Between working at the kitchen stove and the grill outdoors, Gargan testified that he hadn't noticed which guests at the party were drinking, or how much.
- He recalled that the Senator was holding "a tall glass with a dark fluid in it - I would say Coca-Cola.Whether there was anything else in the glass besides Coca-Cola, I cannot honestly testify to," Gargan said. "But I would say, frankly, that the Senator does consume rum and coke and I would assume he was drinking rum and coke at that time."
- At the inquest, Kennedy admitted to having two rum and cokes at the party.

- Fire Captain Foster Silva lived less than 100 yards from the Lawrence cottage. He had no trouble remembering the party held there on Friday night. He had watched television until 10 PM, when his dogs started barking. He went outside to quiet the dogs and saw two cars at the Lawrence house. "There was a lot of singing and laughing coming from the house. I would say it was just a normal cocktail party. They were damned loud, though", he said.
- Silva went to bed around midnight, but couldn't sleep with all the noise coming from the party next door. Silva thought the revelers were inconsiderate in not lowering their voices after 11 PM. "By one o'clock I was pretty damn well fed-up with the whole thing. It was a damn farce at that hour of the morning. If they had kept it up any longer I would have called the police."
- Silva's son-in-law also described the party as "one of those loud, noisy brawls put on by summer people. There was yelling, music, and general sounds of hell-raising." The noise continued until 1:30 AM, then quieted down. "You could still hear people talking, but the noise level was not so bad. It was still going on when I went to bed at 2:30 AM."

11:15 PM
11:50 PM

- One of the most disputed questions raised by the accident was what time Senator Kennedy left the party with Mary Jo Kopechne.
- In his first statement to police, the Senator claimed that he was taking Miss Kopechne to the ferry when the accident occurred. Since ferry service to Edgartown stopped at midnight, his version of events required that he would have had to leave in time to catch the last ferry.
- Gargan, who was cleaning up after cooking the meal, thought it could have been as late as 11:50 PM when the Senator left the party. Although he wasn't wearing a watch, he said "I made a mental note - no particular reason - that he was going to make the ferry. When he left, the assumption was that he was going to the landing, but I don't know where he went."
- Gargan said "It was very hot, and some people were going for walks. It's possible the Senator went for a walk before getting into the car, or did all kinds of things. I know he still had time to get to the ferry - if he was going to the ferry."
- Kennedy didn't announce he was leaving or say good night to anyone. Neither did Mary Jo.
- Miss Kopeckne left her pocket book behind, and it was found at the cottage the next morning.
- Those close to Ted Kennedy claimed that his chauffeur ( Jack Crimmins ) "drove the Senator everywhere." Since Crimmins was present at the party, some thought it was peculiar that he hadn't driven Kennedy and Miss Kopechne to the ferry.
- Crimmins testified that the Senator had called him out of the cottage to the front yard and asked for the keys to the car. "He told me that he was tired, and that he was going to take Miss Kopechne back." Crimmins claimed that he didn't want to give Kennedy the keys, and that he had offered to drive him to the ferry landing. Kennedy wanted to drive, however, and because "It was his automobile," Crimmins said, "I gave the keys to him. I didn't question him." Crimmins was certain that Kennedy left at 11:15 PM, "Because I looked at my watch."


Senator Kennedy's Confirmed Alcohol Consumption
( July 18, 1969 ~ 4:30 PM - 11:15 PM )
(Alcohol consumption based on statements by witnesses. Actual amounts may be higher)

4:30 PM

( 3 ) - Rum and Cokes aboard the Bettawin - (witness: Stan Moore )

6:00 PM

( 2 ) - Heineken Beers at the Shiretown Inn - ( witness: Joseph Gargan )

7:00 PM

( 1 ) - Rum and Coke in hot tub at Lawrence Cottage - ( witness: Jack Crimmins )

8:30 PM
11:15 PM

( 2 )* - Rum and Cokes at the Party - ( witness: Ted Kennedy )
*Because this number is based on Kennedy's inquest testimony, it should be viewed with some skepticism. The actual number of drinks was probably greater.



Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Ted - The Other Scandals

YTEDK Joe Kennedy Sr. page