Ethan Couch was sentenced to probation in an DUI crash that killed four and seriously injured two. The 16-year-old will spend the next 10 years on probation. However, for the families of the victims the sentence was a major disappointment.
On June 15, Couch was out drinking with friends. Although he had been drinking for hours, he made the decision to drive. With seven friends piled into his pickup truck, the teen took off driving at an excessive rate of speed.
Breanna Mitchell, age 24, was standing on the side of the road after her SUV had broken down. Brian Jennings and his family saw the disabled vehicle and stopped to help. A total of four people were working on Mitchell’s car.
Authorities said Couch was traveling approximately 70 mph when he struck and killed Breanna Mitchell, Brian Jennings, Hollie Boyles, and Sheby Boyles. He then slammed into Jennings’ vehicle, which was occupied by two young teens.
The impact pushed Jennings’ vehicle into another car before Ethan Crouch’s truck went off the road and struck a tree. Two passengers riding in the bed of the pickup were thrown from the truck.
Couch was eventually arrested and charged with four counts of manslaughter while intoxicated and four counts of assault while intoxicated. Although he was charged as a juvenile, he was facing 20 years in prison.
As reported by CNN, Couch’s attorneys argued that the teen was a victim of “affluenza.” They said the teen was “the product of wealthy, privileged parents who never set limits.”
Judge Jean Brown apparently sympathized with the teen’s situation, and Couch will not spend any time in prison. Instead, he was ordered to enter an alcohol treatment facility. He will remain on probation until 2023.
Syracuse.com reports that the victims’ families are devastated. Eric Boyles, who lost his wife and daughter in the crash, said he was beginning to heal. However, after hearing Ethan Couch’s sentence, the “healing process is out the window.”