Is Pat's Crash Part of Kennedy Curse?

May 5, 2006 — -- The political career of Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., got off to an incredible start.

He first won office in 1988 at the tender age of 21, when he was elected to the Rhode Island House of Representatives. Then, at age 26, the son of the legendary Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., was elected to Congress.

Thursday's car crash, though, near the Capitol may just be the latest installment of what some consider to be the curse over the Kennedy family.

"They've contributed so much, and at the same time so many of them have these human failings, drug problems, drug abuse, tremendously risky behavior," said Ron Kessler, author of "The Sins of the Father: Joseph P. Kennedy and the Dynasty He Founded."

Patrick Kennedy has spent time in drug rehab and admitted seeking therapy for depression. During his career, he has had to answer questions about personal incidents.

In 2000, he was captured on a surveillance camera shoving a female airport security guard. No charges were filed against Kennedy, and he apologized for "being rude." The guard's lawsuit was settled out of court.

In 2001, the Coast Guard was called after an argument with his girlfriend on a yacht. The woman reported he had been drinking. Kennedy also has been accused by two marina owners of chartering boats and returning them with damage -- sometimes significant.

Kennedy's parents have had their problems, too. His mother, Joan Kennedy, has battled alcohol abuse. Her children -- including Patrick -- forced her into treatment after she was found injured on the sidewalk in front of her home. Ted Kennedy was at the wheel when his car drove off a bridge, killing a young female passenger, at Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts in 1969.