DUI crash that killed four nets Texas teen 10 years probation

FORT WORTH, Texas, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- A 10-year probation sentence for a Texas teenager convicted in a drunken driving crash that killed four people has upset family members of the victims.

The mother of one of those killed said 16-year-old Ethan Couch will be "feeling the hand of God," WFAA-TV, Dallas/Fort Worth, reported Tuesday.


Couch was convicted in a June 15 accident that killed residents Brian Jennings, a youth pastor at a church in Burleson, Hollie Boyles and her daughter Shelby, and Breanna Mitchell. They all lived in the area of the accident in a rural section of southern Tarrant County.

Investigators said Couch had a blood alcohol content of 0.24 and was driving between 68 and 70 mph in a 40-mph zone when he hit the four people, who were standing on the the side of the road outside their vehicles. Nine other people also were hurt.

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"He'll be feeling the hand of God, definitely," said Breanna's mother, Marla Mitchell, after the sentence was handed down.

Alex Lumas, whose brother was paralyzed in the accident, called the sentence "not right."

Couch could have received up to 20 years in prison, but Judge Jean Boyd said she didn't believe the teenager would receive the therapy he needed in jail.

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During the hearing, Dr. G. Dick Miller, a psychologist called by the defense, said the teenager's wealthy family had given him "freedoms no young person should have."

He said Couch had been allowed to drive when he was 13. The youth also had not been punished by his parents when police found Couch, then 15, in a parked pickup with an undressed, unconscious, 14-year-old girl.

Miller recommended one to two years of treatment for the teenager and no contact with his parents.

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