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Utah man who killed a woman in DUI crash seeks parole

July 28, 2019

DRAPER, Utah (AP) — Ten years ago, Wendy Kerbs was killed while gardening in her yard.

A man who was drunk and high on meth at the time had been driving 50 mph (81 kph) on a residential street near Kerbs’ house in the northern Utah city of Roy. He lost control of the vehicle, smashing into a light pole and rolling into Kerbs, killing her. She was 54 years old.

Now, the man convicted of her death is seeking parole.

Richard Allan Bash, now 50, told a parole board on July 17 he has a hard time forgiving himself after the incident, the Deseret News reports.

“I wake up and look in the mirror in the morning and realize that I’m a killer. And I’ve had a really hard time dealing with it,” Bash said in a recording of the hearing.

Prior to the crash, Bash already had seven DUI convictions in other states. He is currently serving time at the Utah State Prison.

But since being in prison, Bash told the parole board he has earned his high school diploma and worked to become sober.

For a long time, Bash said used drugs and alcohol to cope with his anger and depression.

Bash has been diagnosed as having PTSD, depressive disorder and anti-personality disorder. His struggle with mental illness often led him to make bad decisions, he said.

Now, Bash acknowledges his recovery is an “uphill battle.” But he’s learned how to cope with negative emotions in a healthy way and ask others for help, he said.

“It’s been a long road for me to be able to ask people for help,” Bash said. “I was not the type of person to ask for help. But I’m not the person that I was any longer.”

Carrie Cochran, the parole board chairwoman who conducted Bash’s hearing, noted his progress. She said she would recommend a parole date so Bash could be transitioned back into society with state supervision.

If Bash is released after serving his full sentence, in May 2024, he would not be supervised.

Kerbs’s children attended the hearing. They said they feared Bash hurting another family.

“It wasn’t just a mistake that killed her. It was a series of decisions,” Brad Kerbs, Wendy’s son, told the board.

Brad Kerbs and Stephanie Minnig, Wendy’s daughter, told the board they don’t want their mother to be forgotten.

“She was the strongest woman I know. She was my best friend and amazing mom,” Minnig said. “If there’s one thing that comes out of this tragedy, is that next time you want to have alcohol or a drug ... you think of her first and don’t make the same mistakes and hurt another family, including your own.”

The board must now vote on whether to grant parole.

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Information from: Deseret News, http://www.deseretnews.com

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