Ethan Couch continues to cause outrage after getting a judicial slap on the wrist for killing four people and seriously injuring one. However, one family hopes that bringing him to trial will force him to be accountable.
Couch receiving probation for his crimes based, in part, on his wealthy parents’ vow to shoulder the cost of a $450,000 per year treatment program. Yet now it appears that they will not need to pay that cost at all. Instead, Couch has been sent to a state hospital in Vernon, where the daily charge is $715. But Couch’s parents’ cost will be just $1,170 per month — or five percent of the overall treatment costs. As for who pays for the remaining $20,000 per month, that falls on the taxpayers.
Meanwhile, families of the victims have reached settlement agreements with the Couch family, except for that of 13-year old Lucas McConnell. Lucas and his family were dear friends with one of the victims, youth pastor Brian Jennings.
Lucas was with Jennings that night in June 2013 when Couch drove his truck at high speed while heavily intoxicated. Jennings had stopped his car by the side of the road to help a stranded driver, who would ultimately become another of Couch’s victims. Lucas stayed in the car, and as a result suffered only minor injuries himself. However, he had to cope with seeing his friend and godfather die.
The McConnell family called Jennings the most influential person in Lucas’s life. Since the accident, Lucas has had trouble sleeping and has been in counseling for nine months. After Couch’s sentence was given out, Lucas “sobbed all the way home.”
Recently, the McConnells held a media press conference to announce that they would not accept a settlement and would seek a civil jury trial. Their lawsuit charges Couch with operating his vehicle in a reckless and negligent manner, and with disregarding a restriction on his driver’s license that required a passenger 21 years old or older to ride in the front seat with him. The suit also accuses Couch’s parents of allowing him to drive despite knowing about his driving restrictions and even though he had a prior conviction for alcohol possession as a minor. Noting that civil trials are more open than criminal, the McConnell family hopes that through depositions from Couch’s psychologist, Dick Miller — the one who testified that Couch suffered from “affluenza” — and others involved in the accident, they can provide a better sense of what took place.
If you or a loved one has suffered due to an injury in a car accident caused by another driver, you may be entitled to compensation, including medical expenses, loss of wages, and pain and suffering. The experienced San Antonio personal injury attorneys at Carabin Shaw may be able to help. Call our office for more information at 1-800-862-1260.