He evaded a stiff criminal penalty, but the 16-year-old Texan who drunkenly plowed his truck into a crowd, killing four people, may have just cost his family their life's fortune in civil court.
Ethan Couch was convicted of accelerating over 70 miles an hour and hitting a crowd of people gathered by a disabled vehicle on the side of a Ft. Worth road. Couch reportedly blew a .24 on a Breathalyzer test, three times the legal limit (which, of course, doesn't apply to 16-year-olds in any case).
But the teen avoided a lengthy prison sentence after his family hired a psychologist to testify that Couch was a victim of "affluenza," indulged by the family wealth and unable to follow the straight and narrow without counseling.
That may not save Couch's family in the long run. They now face five civil lawsuits—three from families of the people Couch killed and two from those he injured, according to NBC-Dallas/Ft.Worth. The amounts specified in the court filings are big:
The Boyles are seeking damages in excess of $1 million in the case...
Maria Lemus and Jesus Molina are the parents of Sergio Molina, who was riding in the bed of Couch's truck when he was thrown during the crash. Their son sustained a severe brain injury and is no longer able to move or talk. The family is seeking damages of $20 million.
The lawsuits also name Couch's parents and Cleburne Metal Works, the family company, since he was driving a company-owned F-350 super-duty pickup truck at the time of the crash.
[Screenshot courtesy of NBCDFW.com]