PROVO, Utah — An attorney called it the best example of mercy and forgiveness he's ever seen.
Rick Winder was sentenced Thursday morning for causing a car crash that killed a toddler in April of this year. Despite being charged with negligent homicide, he was only sentenced to spend a single day in jail — because the little girl's parents asked the judge to show a little kindness.
"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," said Reed Parkinson, father of car crash victim Chelsea Parkinson.
Winder admitted to being distracted while driving, which caused him to run into three cars waiting in a turn lane, killing two and a half-year-old Chelsea.
"She was full of spunk, a wonderful little girl, so sweet and caring," Chelsea's mother Katie Parkinson said. "She had the cutest little, 'Hello. Hello daddy.'"
Reed Parkinson said the punishment of Winder would not bring his family anymore justice.
"And we would request that he not receive any jail time if possible, and get the lowest amount of sentencing as possible," he said.
Updated evidence showed that 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 girls place," Winder said.
In addition to being sentenced to one day of already served time in jail, Winder was sentenced to 400 hours of community service, 24 months of court probation and $993 in fees and fines.
"Drive safely. Hug your kids. Traffic accidents can happen so fast," Reed Parkinson said. "Hold your kids tight and love them."
The Parkinsons now live in Colorado with a younger daughter, who they said is doing great. Rick Winder is now married to his fiance, who was in the truck with him at the time of the crash. His probation began Thursday.