TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Former Olympic diver Bruce Kimball will serve less than five years of a 17-year sentence for a 1988 drunk-driving accident that killed two teen-agers, the Florida Parole Commission decided Tuesday.
The commission voted to release Kimball Nov. 24, 1993, unless the case is brought back to the commission for disciplinary action by the Department of Corrections, parole spokeswoman Ruth Anne Reese said.
Kimball, who pleaded guilty to two manslaughter charges, has served about 22 months of his sentence for the Aug. 1, 1988, accident that killed Robbie Bedell, 19, and Kevin Gossic, 16. Three others were seriously injured when Kimball crashed into a crowd of teen-agers on a dead-end road in Brandon, Fla.
The mother of one of the dead youths was disappointed by the decision. "They have to be aware what they decide affects people," Terry Bedell said. "It affects me, it affects my family, it affects Robbie's friends."
A silver medalist in 1984, Kimball was in training for the 1988 Olympics. At the time of the accident, he had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit.
Parole Commissioner Anabel Mitchell noted that Kimball has expressed remorse and undergone treatment programs.
"If he serves 100 years it's not going to bring back the lives of those two young people," she said.
Although a glitch in the Parole Board's computer system prevented the agency from mailing questionnaires to some victims, the Bedell family returned a questionnaire and attended Tuesday's hearing.
"I wanted them to see that these are not just faceless people," Bedell said. "They sit there and they listen to thousands of these cases and to them it's just a number. . . . He didn't hurt my car, he killed my son."
But another victim's relative has said he wishes he had been invited to send a letter to commissioners.
"I would have written a note recommending his release if I'd known," Raymond Kerker said. Kerker, whose son R.J. was nearly crippled in the accident, said he has forgiven Kimball.
"That man's son is alive," Terry Bedell said. "Maybe if my son was alive I could say the same thing, but I can't right now."