Chappaquiddick Speaks

Chappaquiddick Speaks

by Bill Pinney


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780578410241
Publisher: William A. Pinney
Publication date: 11/01/2018
Edition description: Edition
Pages: 418
Sales rank: 744,566
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.85(d)

About the Author

Bill Pinney was raised on Chappaquiddick and in Edgartown. He attended Columbia University in New York, graduating with a degree in philosophy in 1968. He was Editor/Publisher of the Andean Times, the English-language newspaper of Colombia, South America; Editor/Publisher of This is Ontario magazine in Canada; and a South American investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London. His consuming interest is medieval history, with several books in the works since 1995. Bill has circumnavigated the world on his schooner, Rachel J. Slocum, and with his wife, Raquel, divides his time between his boat on the high seas, historical research in England and France, and home on Chappaquiddick.

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Ted Kennedy's Story

Note: To those of us who live on Chappaquiddick the spelling is Dike Road and Dike Bridge but Dyke House, the last a spelling idiosyncrasy of the original owner, Tony Bettencourt. Chappaquiddick is frequently referred to as Chappy. The combined islands of Chappaquiddick and Martha's Vineyard are known as the Vineyard.

Edgartown Regatta

The Edgartown Regatta on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, has been an annual event for decades. The Kennedys had been regular participants for more than 30 years and all three brothers had acquired well-deserved reputations for hell raising. Ted had visited the island as recently as the summer of 1968 during his period of mourning for his brother Robert, taking up a whole floor of the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown.

The forty-seventh Edgartown Regatta was scheduled to begin on Friday, July 18, 1969. Ted Kennedy had entered a 25-foot Wianno Senior racing boat for the two-day event: the Victura. On this occasion, Kennedy and his party would be staying at the Shiretown Inn on North Water Street in Edgartown. Six young women known as the Boiler Room Girls, who had worked for Robert Kennedy as campaign workers before his assassination, were assigned lodging at the Katama Shores Motel just outside Edgartown. A small house, called Lawrence Cottage, had also been rented on the nearby island of Chappaquiddick to host a series of cookouts in the evenings after each race.

Chappaquiddick Island

Chappaquiddick Island is a sandy dot of land less than three miles wide, connected to Martha's Vineyard Island in 1969 by a single two-car ferry. In 1969, there was no land bridge between the two islands. Lawrence Cottage is located on School House Road, a half mile from a right-angle curve which forms a junction between Chappaquiddick Road heading west to the ferry, two and one-half miles away, and Dike Road, a dirt lane leading east seven-tenths of a mile to Dike Bridge. On the other side of Dike Bridge the road turns quickly to sand and the beautiful and secluded dunes of East Beach where Kennedy and his friends intended spending much of their time over the weekend swimming and sunbathing.

Kennedy's story

During the late morning and early afternoon of July 18, before the start of the first yacht race, Kennedy, Kennedy's chauffeur, four other married men, and six young, single women entertained themselves swimming and sunbathing on East Beach. From about 8:30 p.m. on July 18, the same twelve persons spent their evening relaxing at Lawrence Cottage. The group grilled steaks, drank sparingly, enjoyed light-hearted conversation intermixed with innocent dancing, and behaved themselves well.

At 11:15 p.m., a completely sober Ted Kennedy left the party at Lawrence Cottage in his 1967 Oldsmobile with an equally sober Mary Jo Kopechne to catch the ferry back to Edgartown. Kennedy said this was because Mary Jo had an upset stomach. Confused because of his unfamiliarity with the Chappaquiddick roads, Kennedy made a sharp right turn onto the rough, narrow dirt road leading east to Dike Bridge and East Beach rather than following the banked paved road and directional sign to the left and west toward the ferry. At some point Kennedy realized this was a dirt road rather than a paved road but "did not think anything of it." Continuing at about 20 mph, he was suddenly aware of a bridge in front of him. Kennedy slammed on his brakes "a fraction of a second" before the car went over the side and into the water.

In the aftermath of the accident, Kennedy managed to escape the car but had "no idea in the world how." The current was fierce and he was swept down about 30 to 40 feet from the bridge, but he swam and waded back, stubbornly diving about seven or eight times "in the deep pond" in attempts to save Mary Jo. Exhausted from fighting the current to no avail, he rested for about 15 to 20 minutes on a bank, then jogged back to the cottage to get help. He did not see any lights on at any of the houses along the route.

Arriving back at Lawrence Cottage at precisely 12:15 a.m., Kennedy stood behind the rented white Valiant, the only other car available to the party that night, and asked Ray LaRosa, who was standing by the door to the cottage, to find his cousin Joe Gargan. He then sat down in the back seat of the Valiant until Gargan arrived. When Gargan had joined him he asked that he find Paul Markham. When Kennedy, Gargan, and Markham were all together in the Valiant, Kennedy told them that there had been a terrible accident and "we have to go."

In The Inspector's Opinion, Malcolm Reybold calls this exchange of messages between Kennedy, LaRosa, Gargan, and Markham, allegedly at 12:15 a.m., the relay. In the context of Carol Jones's eyewitness account, the relay is essential to an understanding of what actually must have occurred that night and will be discussed in more detail later in the book.

Kennedy, Markham, and Gargan then rushed to the bridge in the Valiant, arriving there at exactly 12:20 a.m. Kennedy rested on the bank while Markham and Gargan dove repeatedly in attempts to rescue Mary Jo or recover the body. They were ultimately unsuccessful, not even able to determine whether her body was still there. Neither Markham nor Gargan saw any lights at any of the nearby cottages, either.

All three then drove down to the Chappaquiddick ferry landing in the Valiant, with Markham and Gargan repeatedly advising Kennedy that he must report the incident immediately to the police. They arrived at the ferry landing about 1:40 a.m.

The group continued talking at the landing for a few minutes, but suddenly Kennedy dove impulsively into the water and swam back to the Edgartown side. Markham and Gargan were caught unawares but were unconcerned. The strong northerly set swept Kennedy more than a quarter of a mile to the beach at the Edgartown lighthouse where he finally managed to stumble out, grateful to be alive. Kennedy said he almost drowned a second time getting across. Kennedy then walked to his room at the Shiretown Inn in Edgartown, arriving there sometime before 2:00 a.m.

Disregarding the counsel of Markham and Gargan, Kennedy did not report the accident due to his "confused state" and because he "willed that Mary Jo still lived." Gargan and Markham, who returned to Lawrence Cottage around 2:00 a.m., did not report the accident either because they were under the impression that Kennedy would do this himself, and because Kennedy had asked them not to say anything to the others. Kennedy said this was because he was afraid the news might prompt the other Boiler Room Girls to attempt a needless and dangerous rescue.

At around 2:30 a.m., not being sure "whether it was morning or afternoon or night time," Kennedy showered and dressed, then went downstairs, complained about some noise, and asked for the time from "the room clerk." It was afterwards established that Kennedy spoke to the co-owner of the Shiretown Inn, Russell Peachey, and that the time was precisely 2:25 a.m.

At 7:00 a.m., Robert Samuel, a 22-year-old physical science teacher from New York, and Joseph Cappavella, his 15-year-old student, took the ferry over to Chappaquiddick for some fishing at East Beach. Walking back from the beach to the Dike to try their luck there, they discovered a car lying upside down in Dike Channel. Mrs. Malm, the woman renting Dyke House at the time, was notified of the accident and her call to the police station was logged at 8:20 a.m.; Chief of Police Arena arrived at the bridge by about 8:30 a.m.; and Tony Silva, Tony Bettencourt, Laurence Mercier, Robert Brougier, and John Farrar were on the scene at 8:45 a.m.

Meanwhile, Kennedy made a call from the public phone booth at the Shiretown Inn to his brother-in-law Stephen Smith soon after 8:00 a.m. Shortly after that, Kennedy met fellow racers Mr. Richards, Mrs. Richards, and Mr. Moore "very briefly," then Mr. Gargan, Mr. Markham, and Mr. Tretter at around 8:30 a.m. "just a few minutes after he met Mr. Moore probably."

Kennedy then took the ferry to Chappaquiddick to make a private call to a "dear friend Mr. Burke Marshall" because he felt that once he went to the police station he would "be involved in a myriad of details and I wanted to talk to this friend before I undertook that responsibility." Kennedy testified that these were the only two telephone calls he ever made.

Sometime before 10:00 a.m., after he "fully realized what happened," Kennedy "immediately" contacted the police. There, at the police station in Edgartown, Kennedy and Markham sat down to compose a short statement of less than 250 words affirming some of the above. Chief Arena left them in his office hard at work on their story, went back to the bridge to call off the search for more bodies and oversee the recovery of the Oldsmobile, and when he finally returned about an hour later the two still had not finished it.


Those Damn Witnesses ...

Senator Kennedy's story, however, is belied by a number of witnesses who spoke up in the immediate aftermath. As many were intimidated later with harassment, and in some cases death threats, they might have wished they had not.

The Malms

Mrs. Malm, the woman renting Dyke House on the night of the incident 450 feet from Dike Bridge, told Chief Arena that she heard a car driving unusually fast over the road past her house in the direction of the bridge but had no idea of the time. Mrs. Malm's 21-year-old daughter Sylvia, who was reading by a window overlooking the bridge, later told Arena that she heard a car moving fast past their house in the direction of Dike Bridge. The daughter put the time as between 11:15 and 11:45 p.m. Mrs. Malm and her daughter both said they went to bed by midnight and heard nothing thereafter. Mrs. Malm said there was a light burning all night at the cottage.

Interviewed by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for their 1994 documentary Chappaquiddick, Sylvia, the daughter, said she was reading at the open window overlooking the bridge for about an hour and a half before she went to sleep at midnight. The car that drove past her house did not appear to have any problems, and "if there had been an accident with that car, or if the accident had actually occurred when I was awake, I am sure I would have heard it because my window overlooked the bridge and at that time of night it was very quiet."

Mrs. Malm purchased the cottage in 1973 and died in 1996. In an interview with the author in 2014, Sylvia revealed that her mother had actually heard two other cars at the bridge that night after midnight. Jerry Jeffers, long time Chappaquiddick resident and owner of the Chappy Store, also said that Mrs. Malm told him she had heard two cars at the bridge.

Chris "Huck" Look

Huck Look, Edgartown Deputy Sheriff and a lifetime Vineyard resident, was a special police officer on a private detail duty at the Edgartown Yacht Club Regatta dance from 8:00 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on the night and early morning of July 18 and 19. At the conclusion of the event, which was unusually peaceful, Look left the club at 12:25 a.m. and was dropped off on the Chappaquiddick side of the channel by the Yacht Club launch at 12:30 a.m. to return to his wife at their rented cottage near Wasque. Entering his station wagon, which was parked at the landing, Look then proceeded toward home. Between 12:40 and 12:45 a.m. he arrived at the right-angle intersection to School House Road. Observing a car coming toward him, Look slowed down to a crawl because he knew cars tended to hug the left side of the road when coming around the curve and wanted to make sure they had enough space to pass.

Instead, the other vehicle slowed, continued straight into a narrow dirt lane called Cemetery Road, and stopped. Passing through his headlights, Look observed that the car was a dark sedan driven by a man with a woman in the front seat next to him, and something sticking up in the back seat – "a person, clothing, sweater, or pocketbook casting a shadow of some kind."

As the car began backing out of Cemetery Road, Look came to a stop on School House Road about 50 to 60 feet beyond the intersection. Thinking that the persons might need directions, Look got out and approached the vehicle. He was about 25 to 30 feet away when the car turned and drove off toward Dike Bridge at a moderate speed.

Look observed that the Massachusetts license plate on the sedan began with a letter L, then a 7, and ended with a 7. He distinctly remembered the plate number because seven was his lucky number and because, as he testified at the exhumation hearing, he did his usual "photostatic thing in his mind" as he had trained himself to do when observing license plates as a routine aspect to his job. Look thought the people might have observed his police uniform, badge, and whistle when the car's backup lights lit up the area as he was walking toward the car.

Look thought about going after the car but then reconsidered. They hadn't done anything illegal. So Look resumed his drive toward home but almost immediately met a man and two women doing a "conga dance" on the road. One woman was tall and the other short, and the man was short with curly hair. Stopping his car, Look asked if they needed a lift at that late hour. The tall woman said, "Shove off, Buddy, we aren't pick-ups." The man, however, assured Look that they were renting the cottage down the road and were OK. Look said he mentioned the "lost car" to his wife when he got home at precisely two minutes before one o'clock.

The next morning, informed that a car had been found in the water of Poucha Pond, Look arrived at Dike Bridge at 9:00 a.m. As a black Oldsmobile sedan was pulled from the water with Massachusetts license number L78-207, Look told Officer Brougier, "Holy Jesus. I saw that car last night. It had a man and a woman in the front seat and another person or some kind of object sticking up in the back." Questioned immediately by Chief Arena about how sure he was, Look replied, "I'm positive. That's how sure I am." At the exhumation hearing, Look said, "As soon as they started to pull [the Oldsmobile] out and it became visible, I went over and told Officer Brougier, 'Gee, that is the same car I saw last night.' "

Only 8 of 50 plates in Massachusetts beginning with L7 were later determined to have been issued to Oldsmobile-type vehicles in 1969. None of those vehicles were on the island of Chappaquiddick on the morning of July 19, except for Kennedy's Oldsmobile.

At the inquest, Kennedy was asked if he ever returned to Dike Bridge after the accident shortly after 11:15 p.m.

Q: How many times did you go back to Dike Bridge that night?

Kennedy: Well, that was the only –

Q: After the accident, that was the only occasion?

Kennedy: The only time, the only occasion.

In their edition of August 1974, McCall's implored Kennedy to admit that he left the party after Look's sighting of the Oldsmobile (italics as they appeared in the article): "Whether or not he seeks the Presidency in 1976, a public and press that have always doubted the 'wrong turn' would welcome his candor if, even at this late date, he affirms that, yes, it was after midnight and he and Mary Jo were headed to the beach; that their going there was entirely innocent, but that the appearance of immorality was so inevitable that, in his grief and remorse about the accident itself, he despaired of answering that question straightforwardly at the time with any chance of being believed. If that were to happen, then perhaps the subject of Chappaquiddick could finally be closed."

Nevertheless, at the inquest and thereafter, Kennedy, Gargan, and Markham steadfastly maintained that Look was either mistaken or lying about observing the Oldsmobile in the early morning of July 19. In a November 6, 1974, letter to Time magazine, Kennedy wrote, "A 'most exhaustive investigation' of Sheriff Look's testimony is not required to reveal his fundamental contradictions and inaccuracies." Gargan told Damore in 1983, "How that incredible coincidence could have taken place with what Look says about the number plate and the color and style of the car, I don't know. I simply thought Look was wrong."

On the other hand, Look told the National Enquirer on February 25, 1995, "I know what I saw that night. And I know I wasn't wrong. One of us lied – Ted Kennedy or me. I told the truth then, and I'm telling the truth now. There is no way I'll ever change my claim. It comes down to a matter of credibility. You either believe Kennedy, or you believe me."


Excerpted from "Chappaquiddick Speaks"
by .
Copyright © 2017 William A. Pinney.
Excerpted by permission of Stormy Weather Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Ted Kennedy's Story,
Chapter 2. Those Damn Witnesses ...,
Chapter 3. Other Oddities,
Chapter 4. Uncertain Cause of Death,
Chapter 5. Carol Jones - Her Eyewitness Account,
Chapter 6. Affidavits,
Chapter 7. Intimidation and Death Threats,
Chapter 8. Huck Look,
Chapter 9. Dike Bridge Theories,
Chapter 10. Author's Involvement,
Chapter 11. Kenneth Kappel,
Chapter 12. Our Theory,
Chapter 13. Dike Bridge Channel,
Chapter 14. Burst Bubbles,
Chapter 15. Death of Mary Jo,
Chapter 16. Blood Trail,
Chapter 17. Crash Analysis,
Chapter 18. Skid Marks,
Chapter 19. Physics of the Accident (Dr. Rod Cross),
Chapter 20. Evidence of the Accident (Dr. Rod Cross),
Chapter 21. Technical Aspects (Dr. Rod Cross),
Chapter 22. From Speculation to Certainty,
Chapter 23. Questions with Answers,
Chapter 24. The Mystery Man and Women,
Chapter 25. Was There Another Woman Involved?,
Chapter 26. The Relay,
Chapter 27. The Reluctant Witness,
Chapter 28. The Malms,
Chapter 29. The Accident,
Chapter 30. Dike Road and the Edgartown Channel,
Chapter 31. Rochester,
Chapter 32. The Failed Autopsy,
Chapter 33. The Kopechnes,
Chapter 34. Joseph Gargan Jr.,
Chapter 35. The BBC Documentary Chappaquiddick,
Chapter 36. Look & Carol,
Chapter 37. John N. Farrar,
Chapter 38. How it Might Have Occurred,
Chapter 39. Timeline,
Chapter 40. The Unthinkable,
Chapter 41. Alternative Possibilities,
Chapter 42. Objections to Our Theories,
Chapter 43. The Case for Ted Kennedy's Story,
Chapter 44. The Boiler Room Girls,
Chapter 45. Requiem for Edward Moore Kennedy,
Chapter 46. Conclusion,
Note 1: Torque Acting About a Pivot Point,
Note 2: Air Flow from a Submerged Vehicle,
Note 3: Impact Force on a Body & Head,
Note 4: Flow Rate of Water from a Pond,
Note 5: Formulas to Determine the State of the CM at Free Fall,
Note 6: Door Structural Analysis (Cacciatore & Ochoa),
Note 7: Side Window & Front Windshield Structural Analysis (Ochoa),
Note 8: Roof & Front Windshield Structural Analysis (Ochoa),

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Chappaquiddick Speaks 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
GodCreatedItAll More than 1 year ago
Wow! In starting my review, I have to say first and foremost, the author researched, researched, and researched more! Very informative book! Chappaquiddick Speaks is not afraid to share all theories or share the truth. I truly think the author Bill Pinney finally dug in and finally, got to the truth. He is truly informative all throughout the book, something that makes the book trustworthy. I am truly glad he wrote this book. I remember hearing of this when I was a young child. I don’t remember it happening, but remember hearing of it as I grew up. What I could never get out of my mind is how could someone just leave another person, especially a man (of substantial status) leave a woman (supposedly a dear friend) to just die. How can anyone do that to anyone? As I grew up, as it would be brought to my attention again, I would always wonder about this case and what really happened on that horrific night. I believe, this book finally told us exactly what did. It gets down to every last detail. It covers every scenario of what could have happened and shows with all the research exactly what probably did happen. Recommend for all who have ever wanted to know what happened that fateful night at Chappaquiddick. A free copy of #ChappaquiddickSpeaks was given to me by #NetGalley for my honest review. Thank you to Net Galley and the publishers, Stormy Weather Press.