The mother of one of the victims in the 2013 drunk driving accident caused by “affluenza teen” Ethan Couch spoke out on Tuesday about the wreck, and gave a chilling account of meeting Couch just minutes after the crash.
New York Daily News reports that Marla Mitchell, mom of Breanna Mitchell, 24, one of the victims killed after Couch plowed a red 2012 Ford F-350 pickup truck into her and other bystanders, was talking to her daughter on the phone just minutes before the accident occurred. Breanna Mitchell was stuck on the side of the road on June 15, 2013, after one of her tires blew out. Minister Brian Jennings, along with Breanna’s two friends, Hollie Boyles and her daughter Shelby Boyles, were at the scene helping out.
Marla Mitchell was on her way to meet her daughter and help out with flat tire, but didn’t arrive before the wreck. The last words her daughter said to her was,
“OK, mom, I love you. Please hurry.”
Seconds later, while still on the phone with her daughter, Marla Mitchell heard what she described as an “awful sound on the phone,” a crash taking place as Couch hit the 24-year-old and the bystanders helping her. Yet, it wasn’t Couch’s truck that killed Breanna Mitchell. She was thrown after the heavy impact of Couch’s truck, which caused a chain reaction and vehicle pileup that took the lives of both Breanna Mitchell and the three people assisting her.
When Marla Mitchell arrived to the accident scene, she noticed a blonde-haired teen walking away. He didn’t seem phased by what had just transpired minutes earlier. In fact, he appeared nonchalant. Slurring his words, the teen told Marla,
“You don’t want to go that way. There’s nothing good happening over there.”
At the time, the concerned mom had no idea she was talking to Ethan Couch, a teen who would soon make headlines and become one of the most loathed teenagers in the nation. After speaking to Ethan, Marla ran to accident scene, where she saw her daughter close to a fence with her legs missing.
“When I found her she was outside of the fence up to the point of her legs. Her legs were gone.”
Earlier that night, the “affluenza” teen reportedly told his friends, who were in the truck with him when it crashed, that his wealthy family would take care of everything.
Marla didn’t know Ethan’s parents, and her first encounter happened in a courtroom when Ethan’s father, Fred Couch, ran up to her and asked for her forgiveness.
“I just want you to know that I believe in God and I’m begging your forgiveness.”
The distraught mother told Fred Couch that she did indeed forgive him, but she couldn’t promise that God did. She never saw Fred Couch again until his son’s trial started. Marla indicated that Fred Couch walked up and tried to shake her hand while they both outside the courthouse, but she declined. He then gave a few encouraging words and tried to hug her, but again, she backed away.
When she looked around, she noticed that several cameras were pointed directly at her, confirming what she already believed: Fred Couch was “faking” for the cameras.
“It was totally staged. Yeah, totally staged.”
Meanwhile, Marla Mitchell still goes through daily struggles of blaming herself for what happened to her daughter.
“I still second guess. If I had been there earlier, if I had seen it or heard it maybe I would have said ‘Hey ya’ll get up in the yard!'”
While Marla buried her daughter, the Couches were putting together a strong legal team and defense that would eventually allow Ethan to avoid jail time for his heinous crime. Although the prosecution pushed for 20 years in prison, the “affluenza teen” got off lightly, with only 10 years of probation and inpatient counseling.
Now that Ethan Couch violated his probation by fleeing to Mexico with this mother, Marla Mitchell is hoping that this time, he’ll be sent to prison, where he’ll remain for “a long, long time.” Meanwhile, she holds onto her strong Christian values to get her through the ordeal.
“I felt like I experienced a lot of things in my lifetime, but this almost broke me. This almost broke my faith. And that’s the only thing I had to hold onto.”
[Photo Courtesy of the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office]