There has been a lot of publicity surrounding the incident with Ethan Couch and the accident that occurred in the summer of 2013. In fact, I posted a blog about the story in January. Although many may have thought that the case was done and over with, there are still some lingering issues.
Currently, there is a North Texas family who say that they will not settle with Ethan Couch and his family. Not only do they not want to settle, but they want a jury to hear their own lawsuit. As one of the youngest victims associated with this terrible crash, 13-year-old Lucas McConnell is still dealing with the aftermath of the accident.
In total, there were sixteen people involved in this multi-vehicle accident. According to reports, the incident began after Breanna Mitchell lost control of her SUV and ended up going into the ditch. She was helped by a woman and her daughter – Hollie Boyles (42) and Shelby Boyles (21). In addition, Brian Jennings, a 43-year-old youth pastor, stopped to offer Mitchell assistance. All four of these individuals were killed after being hit by a pickup driven by Couch. Couch was 17 years of age at the time of the crash.
Recently, Lucas McConnell, his family, and his attorney spoke publicly about the accident for the first time. Even at just 13, Lucas had some wise words, “I just keep finding myself asking why this happened. I’ve yet to see anything good come out of it.” Lucas has trouble sleeping since the accident and sees a counselor regularly. During the press conference, Lucas also mentioned that he wants to be able to find a reason for why this event happened.
At the time of the incident, Lucas had been driving with Jennings, who was both his youth pastor and his godfather. Jennings had instructed Lucas to stay in the vehicle while he went to offer aid to Mitchell. Lucas was, himself, seriously injured, but was also forced to watch Jennings and the others die. Lucas was very close to Jennings and has had a difficult time dealing with such a great loss. Kevin McConnell stated that there were many factors that led up to the horrific crash. “It was a crash that was a culmination of a series of bad decisions, destructive decisions, destructive actions,” he said.
Many in the community and throughout the nation were surprised, and even outraged, to hear that even after Couch pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter, he was sentenced to only 10-years probation and therapy. The trial received quite a bit of attention after a psychologist took the stand and offered a defense now known as “affluenza.” The “Affluenza Defense” is generally an idea that because he was raised in an affluent household and he was not disciplined by his parents, he is not capable of making good decisions.
The McConnells are hoping that their lawsuit may bring a different kind of justice to those affected by the accident. In their view, Couch has not had to be held accountable for his guilt. Their attorney has been quoted as saying, “This is about accountability, responsibility and we feel that has not been done today. What will give this family justice is the full story being told and indeed having 12 citizens, sitting on a jury, decide what should be done.” Attorneys for the McConnell family hope to begin depositions in April and would like a trial date to be set shortly after.