Mary Jo Kopechne was killed in 1969 while riding in a car with Senator Edward Kennedy
on Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts. Mary Jo Kopechne was a former campaign worker for Kennedy's brother, Robert F. Kennedy
, who was assassinated during the 1968 presidential campaign. She had grown up in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and graduated from Caldwell Women's College (now Caldwell University) in 1962. On July 18, 1969, Kopechne attended a reunion party for a few workers from the RFK campaign, held in a cabin on Chappaquiddick Island, a short ferry ride off the island of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. Edward Kennedy and Kopechne left the party together later that night; a short time afterwards, their car plunged off the Dike Bridge into a pond, where it overturned. Mary Jo Kopechne died in the car. Kennedy escaped, and later swam the short distance from Chappaquiddick back to Martha's Vineyard, where he made his way to his hotel. He didn't report the accident until the next morning, later claiming he had been dazed by the crash. The full details of the incident have never been entirely clear. Kennedy's critics suggested he had been driving drunk, had panicked after the accident, and had even tried to arrange a coverup of his involvement. Nothing was ever proved. Kennedy had been considered a likely candidate for president in 1972; instead he pled guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and had his driver's license revoked for a year. Mary Jo Kopechne's body was returned to Pennsylvania, where she was buried in her family's parish cemetery.