Parents request light sentence for distracted driver who killed their daughter

PROVO, Utah — A family endures the loss of a daughter and forgives the man who caused her death, resulting in a lesser punishment.

"We miss our daughter, of course, so much, but we realize that Rick is a real person. He's a human being. It took a little while to realize that, but once we did, we were able to forgive him," Reed Parkinson told KSTU. Parkinson says the punishment of Rick Winder would not bring his family any more justice. "And we would request that he not receive any jail time if possible and get the lowest amount of sentencing as possible."


Reed and Katie Parkinson showed compassion for Winder, 38, at his sentencing Thursday morning. Winder was charged with negligent homicide from a crash that happened in Provo back in April. Admitting to being distracted, he ran into three cars waiting in a turn lane, killing 2-and-a-half-year-old Chelsea Parkinson.

"She was full of spunk wonderful little girl so sweet and caring... she had the cutest little hello hello daddy," said Katie Parkinson.

Updated evidence showed Winder was not under the influence of oxycodone at the time of the crash, as previously suspected. In court, Winder expressed remorse, saying what happened that day was truly an accident. "I want to tell them again how sorry I am for this accident and there's not a day that goes by that I don't wish I could take their little girl's place."

Winder was sentenced to just one day of already served time in jail, 400 hours of community service, 24 months of court probation and $993 in fees and fines. Defense attorney Steve Burton said, "I think that the family being willing to show some humanity and some forgiveness to Rick and his family is what ended up in a just result."

The Parkinsons say they now live in Colorado and that their younger daughter is now doing great. "Drive safely. Hug your kids. Traffic accidents can happen so fast. Hold your kids tight and love them," said Reed Parkinson.