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Drunk-Driving Video Maker Tells Omissions

January 26, 1990|From Associated Press

BRANDON, Fla. — The maker of an educational videotape that premiered Thursday about Olympic diver Bruce Kimball's drunk-driving accident says he left out some elements of the tragedy under pressure.

The 23-minute video, "The Aftermath," recounts the 1988 crash that killed two teen-agers, injured three others and resulted in a 17-year prison sentence for Kimball.

Victims, families and friends talk about their lives since Kimball's speeding car crashed into a group of 30 teen-agers on a dark dead-end street known as "the spot." It was a popular teen hangout in Brandon, a Tampa suburb.

Under pressure from families and from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, New York filmmaker Mark Sadan said he deleted most references to Kimball's troubled history and to the teen-agers' own drinking that night. Critics complain the movie isn't balanced because it doesn't say many of the teen-agers would have gotten behind the wheel, too, to drive home.

"MADD especially didn't want a sympathetic portrayal of Kimball," said Sadan, who produced the video to be shown free at high schools around the country as a deterrent to drinking and driving. An audience of about 100 students at Brandon High School saw the video's debut Thursday.

Frank Quesada, Kimball's attorney, said MADD did not want Kimball, who had a history of drinking, glorified and did not want children shown drinking at the scene of the accident.

"I think it should have been left to the editors and producers of the educational film what should be in it," Quesada said. "Experts should be left to their area of expertise."

"It's an educational film," Sadan said Thursday. "It's not meant to be an objective, journalistic documentary.

"It's simply the story of the tragedy and suffering of those people hurt and affected, the families, the friends and the victims."

When Kimball, a silver medalist in the 1984 Olympics, went on trial for manslaughter in January, he suddenly switched his plea from innocent to guilty, and later to no contest, to spare the families of the victims and his own family the trauma of reliving the tragedy.

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