Diver Kimball Kept Under Suicide Watch

Associated Press

Olympic diver Bruce Kimball, awaiting sentencing Jan. 30 in a drunk driving manslaughter case, is in a special cell and is being checked by jailers every 15 minutes because of warnings by his lawyers about possible suicidal tendencies.

“He is scared to death of everything,” said Maj. James Cook, a supervisor at the Hillsborough County Jail.

Before Kimball arrived in Tampa from Michigan this week for trial, a series of psychiatric tests showed he was developing suicidal tendencies and might fall apart at the trial, his lawyers said.

After listening to just a few minutes of testimony Wednesday about the death and destruction his speeding car caused last summer, the 25-year-old athlete told his attorneys he had heard enough.


No Plea Bargaining

Without any plea negotiations Kimball pleaded guilty to two counts of drunk driving manslaughter and three counts of causing great bodily injury while driving under the influence of alcohol in the Aug. 1 accident that killed two teen-agers and injured four others.

Prosecutors said he was traveling about 75 m.p.h. down a dark dead-end street that is a known teen-age hangout in suburban Brandon when he plowed into a crowd of teens a month before the 1988 Olympic diving trials. Kimball competed anyway for a spot on the squad but failed to make the team.

An hour after the accident, his blood alcohol level was 0.2, twice the limit at which a person is considered legally intoxicated in Florida, the state said.

Sentencing is scheduled Jan. 30.