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Texas affluenza teen to remain in jail for fatal accident

Almost every citizen in Texas has probably heard the tragic story of the DUI crash caused by Ethan Couch, which cost the lives of four innocent people and severely wounded two others. Recently, a judge ruled that Ethan will remain in jail for two years for the fatal accident. Many still believe that this sentence is far too light, given his recklessness, parole violations and flight from the country.

The accident occurred in 2013, when 16-year-old Ethan was partying with friends at his house. With a blood alcohol level of three times the legal limit, and seven passengers loaded into his father's large truck, he set out to drive down the street to a store. He then crashed into a group of pedestrians standing on the side of the road in front of their house. Four people were killed and two grievously wounded in the accident.

Ethan's case became infamous not just for the horrific and tragic deaths and injuries, but also raised national ire when he was only sentenced to probation. During trial, his lawyer produced an expert psychiatric witness who testified that Ethan should not be held accountable for his actions due to "affluenza." This defense was predicated on the fact that his parents simply never taught him right from wrong or that there were consequences for his actions.

The victims' families and the public were outraged that he got off so lightly, without even spending time in a juvenile facility for his crimes. While on probation, he was photographed at a party where alcohol was being served, thus violating his probation. When the photos surfaced, he and his mother fled the country to Mexico, but they were extradited back to the United States when found by U.S. Marshals. Ethan is now an adult, and is incarcarated in an adult detention facility.

Despite the consequences Ethan has faced legally, many families affected by this crash have pursued civil litigation against him and his family. Many of these wrongful death suits are seeking awards of $1 million or more to help cover costs for medical bills and other financial losses, and also for pain-and-suffering from the devastation of losing their loved ones due to someone's reckless and unconscionable actions. Families facing similar situations could benefit from the advice of a Texas attorney to help guide them through the painful legal and emotional difficulties after a fatal accident.

Source: foxnews.com, "Texas 'affluenza' teen Ethan Couch to remain in jail", April 13, 2016

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