Ted swam to safety, but Mary Jo wasn’t as fortunate, as she died in the car*. Kennedy immediately left the scene and did not contact the authorities until after the car and Kopechne’s body were discovered the following day by fishermen.
He pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and was sentenced to two months in jail, suspended (he served no jail time at all). In 1970, a further inquiry into the matter was conducted (confidentially at the demand of Kennedy’s lawyers), and the judge determined that Kennedy’s “negligent driving appears to have contributed to the death of Mary Jo Kopechne” and could have ordered Kennedy’s arrest, but chose not to do so for unspecified reasons. Chappaquiddick Incident