Man convicted in 1997 drunk driving deaths appears at parole hearing - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Syan Rhodes

Man convicted in 1997 drunk driving deaths appears at parole hearing

For the first time in ten years, the drunk driver who killed a pregnant mother and her daughter was up for parole Tuesday.

Donald Branch was drunk when he smashed into Stefanie Kuehl's car in 1997 at the intersection of Highway 64 and Canada road in east Shelby County.

Kuehl, the daughter of Action News 5's Dave Brown, was killed along with her daughter and unborn son.

A seven member panel will ultimately decide whether Donald Branch is paroled, but Monday, one of those members voted against parole, saying after a decade- and all the pain he's caused- Branch still hasn't learned a thing.

"I'm not a man that would go out there and kill...take innocent lives for no reason," Branch said during the trial.

Branch was drunk, driving on a suspended license, and on his way to serve a weekend sentence at the Shelby County Penal Farm for a previous DUI case when the crash occurred.

"I know I was wrong for driving that day, because I wasn't supposed to be driving without a license," he said.

But after ten years, that was all Branch would admit to as he sat before his victim's families, his own family, and the parole board, asking to be set free.

"He doesn't get it," said Stefanie Kuehl's father, Dave Brown. "He refuses to understand what he did."

During the 90 minute hearing, Branch disputed the facts of his case, even denying he had been drinking that night.

"After listening to what I heard today, I am now more firmly convinced than ever that this man doesn't belong on the streets of Tennessee, or any other state, for a long, long time," Brown said.

Six other members of parole panel will review testimony from Tuesday's hearing and make their decision in the next 30 days. 
    
Donald Branch's family did not wish to comment for this story.


Click here to email Syan Rhodes.
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