What really happened at Chappaquiddick
Ted Kennedy testified that it took another 15 minutes to make his way back to the cottage, and that along the way, he saw no lights from any other dwelling. Once there, he remained outside and got into the back of “a white vehicle” that was parked there. He then told partygoer and longtime friend, Ray LaRosa, to send out his cousin, Joe Gargan, and another longtime friend, Paul Markham. Kennedy said that he told LaRosa nothing about what had just happened, and that he didn’t give Gargan and Markham specifics either, only that “there has been a terrible accident.”
Gargan, Markham, and Kennedy then returned to the accident scene and spent approximately 45 minutes trying to retrieve Kopechne before they also gave up. Kennedy, due to his exhaustion, did not physically help, but said that he “made some suggestions.”
Asked why the trio did not call the authorities at this point, Kennedy launched into a long explanation about how he, Gargan, and Markham all agreed that the incident needed to be reported, and he intended to do so by swimming across the channel (because the Ferry had stopped running) back to Edgartown, where there was a local police station. However, Kennedy said he was overcome by the physical strain of the swim, as well as his nightmarish thoughts of what had just transpired. When he reached his hotel room at the Shiretown Inn, he said he collapsed from exhaustion again, awoke around 2:30 a.m, then went back to bed. He did not report the accident to the police unit 10:00 a.m the next morning.
Also, before going to police, Kennedy, Gargan, and Markham returned to Chappaquiddick by ferry, so that Kennedy could use a private phone to attempt to call the family’s personal attorney, Burke Marshall.