Former Olympic diver Bruce Kimball, serving 17 years for killing two teen-agers while driving drunk, publicly admitted today a dependency on drugs and alcohol but was denied a sentence reduction.
Kimball stood before Circuit Judge Harry Lee Coe III and said he felt “remorse and sadness” over the accident last summer in which he sped into a group of teen-agers, killing two and injuring four.
“I feel as though I can now realize fully I do have a drug and alcohol problem,” Kimball told Coe. “I was slow in coming to accept that fact.”
He was put on trial but dropped his innocent plea when testimony began and was sentenced by Coe Jan. 30 to 17 years. State prison officials sent him to Tomoka Correctional Institution, a maximum-security facility near Daytona Beach.
Defense attorney Frank Quesada had asked Coe to let Kimball, 26, attend what he described as a tough, 25-year-old, two-year chemical-dependency program in New York City. Quesada was hoping the sentence would be reduced to less than 10 years and allow Kimball to be transferred to a minimum-security facility.
Before the hearing began, Quesada described Kimball’s first month at Tomoka as trying and said the athlete sleeps with his sneakers on, fearing his belongings will be stolen.
“He’s made the adjustment. But it’s a pretty lousy place for him or anyone else,” the defense attorney said.
Quesada maintained that Kimball will never be rehabilitated in a prison such as Tomoka. The only alcohol treatment plan there is an inmate-run Alcoholics Anonymous program, he said.
Kimball bunks with convicted murderers in a large dormitory. Although nothing has happened so far, Kimball still worries about being attacked or molested, Quesada said.