In 2013, Ethan Couch was arrested for killing four people in an accident while driving drunk. His legal team argued that “affluenza” — the result of a wealthy, privileged upbringing — had caused Couch, then 16, to behave carelessly. And today, April 3rd, he was released from prison. But who did Ethan Couch kill?
Couch was driving with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit on June 15th, 2013, when he hit and killed four people standing on the side of the road in Burleson, a suburb of Fort Worth, Texas. The four victims were 43-year-old Pastor Brian Jennings, 52-year-old Hollie Boyles and her 21-year-old daughter Shelby Boyles, and 24-year-old Breanna Mitchell.
According to ABC, at the time of the crash, Mitchell, who had been involved in a separate car accident, was using Hollie Boyles’ phone to call for help. Jennings had also stopped to help Mitchell. Couch was speeding down the neighborhood street before he skidded off the road, hitting Mitchell, Jennings, and the two members of the Boyles family.
Couch’s family reportedly paid settlements of an undisclosed amount to the Mitchell and Boyles families. And the Couch family also paid $2 million to the family of Sergio Molina, a 16-year-old passenger who was thrown from Couch’s truck and paralyzed.
After the accident, Couch was charged with manslaughter and was ordered to serve 10 years of probation. A psychologist in court argued that Couch suffered from “affluenza,” which ultimately helped him avoid imprisonment. The teen broke the terms of his probation in 2015 and fled to Mexico with his mother to evade punishment. He was eventually caught and sentenced to two years in prison.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving posted a statement to its website on April 3rd, expressing anger at Couch’s short sentence.
Driving while intoxicated is a crime that doesn’t just affect the driver, but those around them as well. So please, don’t drink and drive. The families of Couch’s four victims have endured unimaginable heartbreak, and we hope they find peace.