2 / 28

Police work near the car

Spectators look on as police work near the car driven by Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts which plunged off a bridge in an island pond on July 19, 1969, Chappaquiddick Island near Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. Senator Kennedy escaped from the overturned car but was unable to rescue his companion, Miss Mary Jo Kopechne, 29, of Washington, D.C., who was killed in the crash. Miss Kopechne had worked as a secretary for the late Sen. Robert Kennedy. (Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images)

Chappaquiddick: A tragedy that changed the course of American history

Chappaquiddick, a new film by John Curran, recounts events surrounding the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, a young woman who died in Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy’s car after it crashed on a small island off Martha’s Vineyard in the summer of 1969. Those facts are among the few certainties in a decades-long mystery. With Kennedy a favorite at the time for the Democratic nomination for president in 1972, the shadow cast by Chappaquiddick may well have changed the course of American political history.

Here’s a look back at that tragic day and its aftermath.

See FULL STORY by Christopher Wilson/Yahoo News

See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Twitter and Tumblr.