This blog post has been edited. It was originally posted on April 28, 2014. Facts of this case may have developed or changed since the original post date. Settlements/verdicts may have been reached or are in progress.

A drunk teen decided to get behind the wheel and ended up killing four and injuring another, a testament to the fact that driving drunk can ruin lives forever.

The family of an affluent teenager who admitted to fatally striking four pedestrians last summer while driving drunk has settled lawsuits with two of the victims’ families. The remaining settlements are still pending.

Accident Details

Ethan Couch was intoxicated behind the wheel while driving a truck registered to his father’s company. Late on June 15, 2013 he approached the 1500 block of Burleson-Retta Road, where Hollie Boyles, her daughter Shelby Boyles, and youth pastor Brian Jennings had stopped to help Breanna Mitchell change a blown out tire. Couch struck all four pedestrians while traveling 70 miles per hour. The two passengers sitting in the truck bed, including Sergio Molina, were ejected when the truck flipped and struck several other passing vehicles. Couch’s blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit, and he was underage as it was.

The Ruling

The Couch family has settled with the Mitchell and Boyles families and has agreed to pay them an undisclosed sum, though the Jennings family has yet to reach a settlement with the Couch family. The family of Molina, the teenager who now requires constant care and is only “minimally conscious,” is also seeking damages in a lawsuit. Couch’s attorneys called a psychologist to testify in court. The psychologist stated that Couch suffered from “affluenza,” a colloquial way of saying his parents’ dysfunctional relationship and excessive wealth stunted his development and may have led to his irresponsible decision to drink and drive. Couch pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter in juvenile court. The judge sentenced him to probation and time in a rehabilitation facility, an undeniably light sentence for the crime.

When another person’s negligence is the cause of death or injury in a car accident, a personal injury or negligence claim may be in order. Contact Dallas-Fort Worth lawyers Frenkel & Frenkel to schedule a free initial consultation regarding an auto accident where injuries were caused by someone else’s poor decisions behind the wheel.

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