Prosecutors vow to put Texas teen who used 'affluenza' DUI defense in jail, victims' families file lawsuit

By Daniel S Levine,

After national outrage was sparked by Ethan Couch’s probation sentence for drunk driving and killing four people, Texas prosecutors are vowing to put the 16-year-old behind bars. Meanwhile, families of the victims have filed a lawsuit against the teen and his family.

As previously reported, last week, Couch, who comes from a wealthy family, was sentenced to only 10 years of probation. Judge Jean Boyd had agreed with a psychologist who testified that Couch suffered from “affluenza,” noting that his parents let him drink at a young age.

Couch had been charged in the July deaths of youth pastor Brian Jennings, Hollie and Shelby Boyles, and Breanna Mitchell. Two teens who were riding with Couch were also injured in the accident. Couch’s blood alcohol level was .24, three times over the legal limit.

According to The Houston Chronicle, the victims families have filed four lawsuits. The parents of Sergio E. Molina, who was injured in the crash and is still hospitalized, actually sued Couch, his parents and his father’s company, Cleburne Metal Works, back in September, before the sentencing. Molina’s parents said that his medical expenses reached $600,000 already.

Meanwhile, ABC News reports that the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office has asked the juvenile court to jail Couch for two counts of intoxication assault. “The 16-year-old admitted his guilt in four cases of intoxication manslaughter and two cases of intoxication assault. There has been no verdict formally entered. Every case deserves a verdict," District Attorney Joe Shannon said Wednesday.

“At some point there should be some level of accountability for their actions,” Eric Boyles, Shelby Boyles’ father, told ABC News. "I'm not sure how our justice system has gotten to this."


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