Edgartown Police Chief In Charge During Chappaquiddick Scandal Dies

Photo: Edgartown Police

WESTBOROUGH -Dominick “Jim” Arena, the former Edgartown Police Chief at the helm of the department during the Chappaquiddick scandal, has died.

He was 89 and passed away in Westborough.

The national spotlight fell on Arena after Senator Ted Kennedy drove off the Dyke Bridge on Chappaquiddick the night of July 18th, 1969. Mary Jo Kopechne, a passenger in the car and former aide to Senator Robert Kennedy, was killed in the incident.

Arena was criticized for his decision to only pursue leaving the scene of the accident charge against Kennedy, with some saying the charge too lenient. Arena defended the decision, saying his was the only charge that resulted in a conviction.

When the incident happened, Arena had been Edgartown Police Chief for two years.

After leaving the Vineyard in 1973, Arena held positions with police departments in Vermont and Massachusetts, He also served as a U.S. Marshal at the Federal Courthouse in Worcester. 


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