The emotional testimony of a 15-year-old boy whose sister was killed in a DUI car crash two years ago went a long way toward influencing the state parole board to keep Ryan West, the man behind the wheel, in jail for the balance of his sentence, a family member said.

After listening to comments from the victim’s family and questioning West about the 2005 fatality on West Bourbon Road, the parole board on Friday denied his request for early release and ordered him to serve the remainder of his sentence. West has served two years of a 10-year sentence.

The 22-year-old Somerset man pleaded guilty to amended charges of second-degree manslaughter in connection with the death of Brittney Shoap, a passenger in his car. Shoap, 20, a Somerset Community College student, was crowned Miss Taylor County Fair two days before the accident. Two other passengers were injured.

Brittney’s mother, Tammy Bastin, said several family members spoke at West’s parole hearing, but it was a passionate plea from one of her sons, Zackary, that appeared to carry the most weight with the parole board.

Zackary told the board two years in prison was not “an incentive” to keep America’s youth from drinking and driving, Bastin said.

Brittney’s death has taken an emotional toll on the family. Bastin said Zackary lives “in fear” of losing another family member.

West was questioned extensively about the single-vehicle accident that took Brittney’s life, and he talked for the first time about another fatal accident he was involved in when he was juvenile, Bastin said. A woman was killed a few years earlier in a separate automobile accident in McCreary County.

Concerning the death of her daughter, Bastin said, the parole board “asked him why he was behind the wheel doing 90 mph with passengers.” She said he “had no explanation to give them.”

According to police, West had a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit when tested more than two hours after his 2004 Mustang struck a utility pole on West Bourbon Road.

Bastin said West did not express any emotion at the parole hearing.

“He said he was sad they were gone,” Bastin said, referring to the deaths of her daughter and the woman in the McCreary County accident, “but he did not take any responsibility for his actions.”

She said West has not spoken publicly with family members.

Brittany’s family watched the proceedings from a private room via video link.

Bastin is glad West will remain behind bars and her family will not have to return every two years to fight a petition for early release.

“It’s a relief to know he is going to have to serve the remainder of his sentence and we do not have to go back every two years to try to keep him there,” she said.

West is set to be released from prison in 2012. He has been serving his sentence in a Bell County correctional facility.

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