Families of North Texas Drunk-Driving Victims Sue for Millions
A June 16, 2013 file photo shows cars driving past the scene of a deadly car crash in Burleson, a suburb south of Fort Worth, Texas. On December 13, 2013, the local district attorney’s office and legal specialists stated that prosecutors had no obvious method to request a more severe sentence for Ethan Couch, a sixteen-year-old boy who received ten years’ probation for the crash that killed four people and injured others. The case has provoked anger both in Texas and throughout the United States, with both the supposed Republican and Democratic Texas governor nominees shredding the sentence.
Broad Scale Of The Suit
In conjunction with nationwide anger over Crouch’s sentence, victims’ relatives have been filing civil lawsuits against the teenage driver, his parents Fred and Tonya, and his father’s company. On December 10, 2013, a Tarrant County, Texas judge sentenced Couch ten years probation after confessing culpability in four cases of intoxication manslaughter arising from a June 15 accident in Burleson. As indicated by the Associated Press, a psychologist gave evidence in Couch’s juvenile court trial that Couch endured “affluenza”, a condition in which wealthy children experience a sense of privilege and lack of duty. Even though the “affluenza” defense and probation judgment began an explosion of controversy, the civil lawsuits were filed prior to the case proceeding to trial in a Tarrant County juvenile court.
On September 6, 2013, Maria Lemus and Sergio Molina filed the first lawsuit on behalf of Sergio E. Molina, their son who was riding in the bed of Couch’s truck and was gravely injured in the crash. Cleburne Sheet Metal, Couch, and his parents were identified as defendants in the lawsuit. Sergio E. Molina, who became sixteen on Thanksgiving Day, endured a painful brain injury and stayed in the hospital. According to the petition, at the time the lawsuit was filed, his medical costs surpassed an expected $600,000 and could surpass ten million if he requires constant care. The lawsuit said that because of the accident, Maria Lemus was forced to leave her job to care for her son and three younger children.
According to the petition, at the time of the accident, Couch was zooming in a red 2012 Ford F-350 pickup truck, owned by Cleburne Sheet Metal and handed over to him by his father, on a forty-mile-per-hour residential road. The lawsuit maintained that Couch was limited to only driving with a licensed driver who was at least twenty-one years old. He also violated Texas law by engaging in unsupervised drinking that evening at his home. When he departed to go joy riding in the truck, five teen passengers were inside, while Sergio E. and another teen were in the truck bed. According to the petition, Couch was driving almost seventy miles per hour in the 1500 block of Burleson Retta Road were he struck a 2000 Mercury Mountaineer parked off the road with a flat tire. He ran into four pedestrians who had stopped to assist the Mountaineer driver and endured fatal injuries. The petition maintained that nine others, excluding Couch, were injured.
The lawsuit labeled him an inebriated, negligent, and inept driver. It requests the maximum $20 million in damages. Four other civil lawsuits have been filed for other victims.