HBO drives home the story of a teen and a mistake he’ll never forget
Seventeen-year-old party guy Kevin Tunell celebrated New Year’s 1982 in a big way, with lots of beer and champagne to ring in the new year. When he bragged to friends, “Nothing ever happens to me,” he couldn’t have been more wrong. After insisting he could drive home, his car hit and killed 18-year-old Maggie Glendon.
He was tried and sentenced to probation until he was 21 and community service for a year; his license was also suspended.
But Maggie Glendon’s parents asked for, and received, an additional penalty: Every Friday for the next 18 years, Kevin was to send them a check for $1. Their lawyer said, “What is important is that the Glendons will know that for at least those few minutes it takes to write out a check, at least once a week for the next 18 years, Kevin Tunnell will have to remember the life he took.”
A year later, Kevin didn’t meet his Friday deadline. Then he wrote and sent 17 years’ worth of checks; they were returned. Finally, he stopped the checks, telling his lawyer, “It hurts too much.” In court, the original trial judge reaffirmed the sentence and jailed him for 30 days for contempt of court. Lesson learned.
Lifestories: Families in Crisis, Dead Drunk: The Kevin Tunell Story concludes with an appearance by the real Tunell.
“Lifestories: Families in Crisis, Dead Drunk: The Kevin Tunell Story airs Tuesday at 10:15-10:45 p.m. on HBO. For ages 10 and up.
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