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Forum Post: Mary Jo Kopechne and Leola Anderson. Rest in peace.

Posted 6 years ago on May 22, 2012, 1:09 p.m. EST by OccNoVi (415)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts on July 18, 1969. The road between Bazas and Bernos-Beaulac, France on June 16, 1968.

Same difference. Two tragic deaths with major American presidential candidates driving.

Bad driving, a car wreck, a woman killed, obscured and missing police reports, statements describing the aftermath to the incident that are implausible -- that is what we have for both drivers, Ted Kennedy and Mitt Romney.

Kennedy was driving his mother's Lincoln (not his own Oldsmobile, if memory of the recovery images serves.) Romney was driving his boss's Citroen. This owner, H. Duane Anderson, was also the husband of the deceased.

Kennedy was not familiar with the island's roads or with the car. Romney was a new driver out for the first time driving that car and had never driven in mountains.

Kennedy blamed no one but himself.

The car at Chappaquiddick was going slowly, maybe 15 or 20 miles an hour at the most, so Kennedy was not injured as the car slid off into the water. Kennedy has said that he tried to save Kopechne by diving back in to the water and swimming down to find her -- ultimately unsuccessful as the car was upside down and Kopechne had somehow moved or been moved by the accident to the back seat. Descriptions of the aftermath to the accident were where plausible truth and media-aimed stories diverged at a rapid pace.

Romney was severely injured in what was a head-on collision. French police at the scene thought that he was dying or had already died as the ambulance left for hospital. Another unsubstantiated element of the story is that Mitt Romney was in a coma that lasted for two days -- yet he was on a special train going back to Paris on the fourth day. Seems to have had no after effects in the following months.

-- http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/01/11/article-2085412-0F6B762200000578-270_634x409.jpg

No one was charged in the Romney accident. The other driver was a Catholic priest, identified repeatedly in the statements of Romney and his friends as "Albert Marie, 46" was driving a Mercedes-Benz carrying his mother, identified as "Marie-Antoinette Marie," and a friend identified as "Marguerite Longué, 48."

We are unable to confirm any such priest with such a name and anything like the right birth date. However, there is a close match to a priest born in 1922. That is, Bishop Jean-Félix-Albert-Marie Vilnet. There is a news photo of Mgr. Vilnet from 1969 from an investiture that certainly resembles one of the 1968 photographs from the Bazas hospital. (Boston Globe has that photo mislabeled.) Additional photos come out locally from the 1950s, 19960s and early 1970s -- on the evidence and by investigation this is Bishop Vilnet.

Bishop Vilnet had participated in the Second Vatican Council. From 1981 to 1987 he was president of the Council of Bishops of France. He had been a professor of theology and headed the university where the first Catholic fertility assistance was performed, getting involved to write standards allowing this procedure that were adopted generally. He was used for international diplomacy by the Vatican, including rather tricky work that took him to Cuba for working out problems with Fidel Castro. He was an active bishop from 1964 to 1998. Today he is 90 and lives at Saint-Dié-des-Vosges.

-- http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7091/7317464200_6aa546215e_z.jpg

This is hardly a man to get drunk, go off speeding, and kill a woman.

Today Romney says that he "believes there was a criminal proceeding against Marie (sic)." But that most certainly did not happen. No criminal investigation was registered.

"We were all talking about how dangerous how the highways were and the French highways," Mr. Romney said, reported the Boston Globe in 2007. "Literally as we were having that conversation, boom, we were hit. It happened so quickly (that) there was no braking and no honking."

Romney's version is quoted in a NY Times piece from 2007:

"We were driving, as I recall, through a curvy section of road where the speed limit is very low - I can't remember what it is, but a very low speed limit - and suddenly there was a car in my lane that appeared so quickly around the corner or over the hill, I just don't recall the topography terribly well at this stage, but it happened so quickly that, as I recall, there was no braking and no honking - it was like immediate," Romney said. "My understanding was he ... had been passing a truck and the truck driver said he estimated his speed at about 120 kilometers, which is about 70 miles per hour. And so we had an immediate head-to-head kind of collision."

-- The "truck driver" is nonexistent. Romney ascribes his big lies to others.

-- Check the photo of the two cars after the accident. Here's a photo of what happens to a Citroen DS after a real highway speed head-on collision:

-- http://flic.kr/p/c5SRyW

That road would not support driving at 120 kph under any circumstance. No such reports from any witnesses nor any truck driver were reported in local accounts. The accident did not occur on a "mountain road" either.

The various stories put out by Romney's supporters assert that Mgr. Marie was speeding and also that he was drunk. Both at the same time with his mother sitting beside him in the parish Mercedes.

As you might have guessed, no substantiation exists for either claim. This is a middle-aged bishop with no record of bad driving and surely not a drunk.

No report by French media of the time -- including the virulently anti-clerical Left Wing press -- contains any complaint against the behavior of the priest.

No charges were filed. If the priest had been drunk and killed Leona Anderson, status as a priest would not have protected him. That is part of what the French Revolution was about.

No investigation was registered. No arrest was made. Routine statements were taken by local police and from there a special privately leased railroad train returned the survivors from the Anderson car to Paris four days later. Insurance paid for the Mercedes. Considering the general confusion of such an accident, there is no reason to expect that there would have been a different result -- assuming that no one was speeding and no one was drunk.

Want to lay betting odds on who was at fault?

Take your pick between a 21-year old Mormon missionary on his first trip through France's largely unpainted (in 1968) roads and a mature priest driving his mother and her friend? As well, this Citroen DS was also susceptible to understeering because the rear wheels were set narrower than the front wheels -- 1295 mm vs. 1500 mm. The young Mr. Romney could easily have misjudged a fork in the road, not been comfortable with the DS's "mushroom" shaped brake pedal, and gone across the road's drive line to hit the stopped Mercedes 180.

Le Monde had a piece with quotes from Sud Quest:

-- http://worldcrunch.com/mitt-romney-french-years/4838

“I was frightened of driving a car,” said Mitt Romney to the Boston Globe in 2007. “I had a sense of vulnerability I had not experienced before.” It is not clear why H. Duane Anderson chose to have Romney drive the car in the first place.

The Anderson's Citroen carried Romney, H. Duane and Leola Anderson, André and Paulette Salarnier, and Suzanne Farel.

Seems that a half-dozen events of Mitt Romney's life have resulted in cover-up operations. If it's not being at the wheel for this fatal automobile accident, then it's the state residency requirement in 2002 to run for Massachusetts governor, or it's using Bain to take a $60-million "fee" out of Ampad while arranging $100-million in loans prior to bankruptcy and stiffing the lenders and employees and the employee pension fund (dumped on the public insurance system.)

The Republicans checked out this guy 'bout the same as they checked out Sarah Palin. They didn't do it. Otherwise this would have come out two years ago.

He is the smarter one. Palin's is not lethal for humans, so far.



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[-] 2 points by OccNoVi (415) 5 years ago

Citroen DS is notorious for disintegrating when struck by another automobile or a truck.


It is absurd to claim that the Romney DS in 1968 would have taken so little damage in a highway speed head-on collision. Apparently they did not know that the French police saved photographs, along with the newspaper files.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33491) from Coon Rapids, MN 5 years ago

OMG - what were they?

The 1st Eco friendly paper car?

Wow - I've seen motorcycles take less damage.

[-] 1 points by OccNoVi (415) 5 years ago


[-] 1 points by OccNoVi (415) 5 years ago

Mitt Romney did it again. This month.

Made another been-through-that reference to this fictional account of the June 16th 1968 auto accident.

The man's a disordered hole.

[-] 1 points by OccNoVi (415) 5 years ago

Here's the version of the Romney story from the Boston Globe:

-- Chapter 4: A brush with tragedy

-- At that moment, a Catholic priest in a Mercedes passed a truck at high speed, missed a curve near a post office, and smashed nearly head on into their car. The collision collapsed the front of the Citroën, thrusting the engine into the front seat. Mitt Romney was pinned between the steering column and the driver’s door. He was knocked out and trapped in the bloody wreckage. Romney’s injuries appeared so severe that a police officer who re;sponded to the scene made a grave notation in the young man’s passport: “Il est mort”—“He is dead.”

Amazing. The road there is divided with a built up separation element. Police were told that Romney had died. Of course the only people there to say it to police after the accident were Romney's companions.

Picture of the crash site. Romney would be driving toward the camera. They came down from Bordeaux on the Grand Route.


Oh. Romney is the one who came around the curve. As a guess the Mercedes was sitting there waiting to make a turnaround. What else makes sense?

[-] 1 points by OccNoVi (415) 5 years ago

Romney and his crew claim that French police destroy records after ten years.

The courts do not.

[-] 1 points by OccNoVi (415) 5 years ago

Comparison of Romney's Citroen DS with similar models after actual highway speed head-on collisions is underway.

The photos of these DS wrecks are quite different from the fender bender we're looking at from the Romney accident.

One project in talks: replicate the accident with real cars similar to Mythbusters.

-- Do it as a highway speed collision

-- Do it as one car moving 60 kph and the other sitting still

Romney looks to have struck the priest's Mercedes as it was sitting still, waiting to take the U-turn on this country road.

Romney and his supporters claim that all records have been destroyed. We'll also see about that.

[-] 1 points by OccNoVi (415) 6 years ago

Amazing that this post has disappeared from the google search list.

Let's test it again.

AaaBbbCcc. 26. Mai 2012.

[-] 1 points by OccNoVi (415) 5 years ago

Still gone. The URL opens normally.

Bing.com picks up the URL from other postings here. Color of Change on Facebook has not been attacked.

Every other reference that connects Leola Anderson with Mary Jo Kopechne has been attacked and eliminated. There are dozens, so this is a professional effort.

[-] 1 points by OccNoVi (415) 5 years ago

Search engine testing underway. Apparently anything new that connects Mary Jo with Leola gets attacked.

[-] 1 points by OccNoVi (415) 6 years ago

Accident analysis has begun on the Citroen DS that Mr. Romney was driving when the accident occurred.

One immediate result is that the combined speeds of the two vehicles was no where near the claim of Romney driving slowly, but the Mercedes going "120 kph" on the word of an unidentified truck driver.

In fact, one car going slowly and the other car being stopped would produce this level of crumpling. These DS models had recessed engines and very little in front to restrain crumpling. For a two-car head-on collision with one car going at highway speed, this is about the least that you can do to a Citroen DS.

As Mr. Romney reports that he was moving normally and perhaps slower than the legal limit, the possibility exists that the Mercedes driven by the parish priest, Mgr. Marie, was sitting still. Mr. Romney could have been confused by his headlights and failed to make the turn coming down the road from the Bernos-Beaulac bureau de poste on what was then the main Grand Route coming south.

-- Romney states that he did not hit the brakes. But the photo of the two cars shows that the nose of the Citroen DS barely pushed into the front of the Mercedes as it crumbled. One bet: he hit the brakes and could not stop in time.

Interesting engineering problem. Of course, we know that Leola Anderson was packed in with three other people in the back seat so there was no chance that she had a seat belt. A 20 kph accident -- coming to a quick stop -- would have thrown her forward with killing force. This is a long time before air bags came in.

[-] 1 points by OccNoVi (415) 6 years ago

On another forum it came out that Romney has flip-flopped on his descriptions of this accident to the NY Times and others:

  1. The accident happened so fast that "there was no time for braking or for honking (the horn.)"

  2. The other driver, identified by Romney's crew as "Albert Marie," tried to pass a truck but could not get around the truck and back into his lane fast enough which caused this head on collision.

Those two statements cannot both be true.

Also, thinking it through for one more step: if a truck had been involved, rolling along just behind Mgr. Marie at the point of impact, then the truck would surely have been carried right into the rear of the parish Mercedes carrying Mgr. Marie and his two passengers.

That did not happen. Simply, on the evidence, there was no truck involved.

We already knew that if this "Albert Marie" had been "drunk" as the Mormons allege, repeatedly in their writings about this homicide, that he would have been charged for manslaughter. He was not even ticketed.

The more we look at this accident, the worse looks for trying to blame the Catholic priest.

[-] 1 points by OccNoVi (415) 5 years ago

Want motive for building such a complicated story? Read to the bottom of this excerpt describing Romney arriving in Paris:

His new mission partner’s name: Mitt Romney.

Hansen wasn’t sure what to expect at that first meeting.

“I was incredibly impressed by him, in terms of his humility,” Hansen, now a family physician in Lewiston, recalled recently. Although Romney was the new district leader, he didn’t come in with an authoritarian attitude. “In our first conversation, he said, ‘You know the area. You tell me what we need to do.’ ”

Nearly a half-century later, Hansen said he saw strong leadership qualities and people skills early on in the man who now is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. They talked sometimes about Romney’s father’s presidential campaign – at the time, George Romney had not yet dropped out of the 1968 GOP race – but Hansen didn’t know very much about American politics.

“I distinctly recall Mitt saying one of his goals was to become president of the United States.

But that’s one of those things that kids say. I didn’t think it was very likely.”