Texas prosecutors try to jail drunken teen who killed 4 in crash

FORT WORTH, Texas, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Prosecutors in Texas say a 16-year-old who is serving 10 years probation after acknowledging he killed four people while driving drunk should be sent to jail.

Tarrant County District Attorney Joe Shannon has asked a juvenile judge to put, Ethan Couch, behind bars on two counts of intoxication assault Shannon said were still pending before the court, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Tuesday.


"During his recent trial, the 16-year-old admitted his guilt in four cases of intoxication manslaughter and two cases of intoxication assault," Shannon said in an email to the Star-Telegram. "There has been no verdict formally entered in the two intoxication assault cases. Every case deserves a verdict.

"The district attorney's office is asking the court to incarcerate the teen on the two intoxication assault cases," Shannon said in the email.

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Sergio Molina, one of two teens riding in the back of Couch's pickup truck when it crashed, is paralyzed and can communicate only by blinking, testimony in last week's trial indicated.

The Star-Telegram said it wasn't clear how the matter could be decided. Under Texas juvenile law, the maximum allowable sentence in Couch's intoxication assault case would be three years in a juvenile facility. The judge also could issue no further punishment, observers told the newspaper.


Scott Brown and Reagan Wynn, Couch's defense attorneys, could not be reached for comment.

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Couch had a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit, along with traces of Valium in his system, when he lost control of his vehicle June 15 and struck a group of people helping a woman whose car had stalled on a road near Burleson.

Seven passengers were in Couch's pickup when the crash occurred. Testimony indicated Couch was accelerating at the time of impact.

The Star-Telegram said many civil lawsuits have been filed against Couch and his family in the crash.

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