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Dewhurst Wants Harsher DWI Crash Sentences

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Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst testifies on Capitol Hill. (credit: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst testifies on Capitol Hill. (credit: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A teenager who admitted to killing four people in a drunk driving crash was given a sentence of 10 years probation. That move still has people across the country talking, and now Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is calling for changes.

Dewhurst is directing the Senate committee on criminal justice to study sentencing in intoxication manslaughter cases.

For Dewhurst, these types of cases are personal. “Having lost my own father to a drunk driver in my youth, I have a particular interest in this issue, because I know the devastation it cases,” Dewhurst stated Thursday. “I am wholeheartedly committed to the safety of our citizens and believe that recent cases indicate existing sentencing options may leave justice undone.”

Ethan Couch is the 16-year-old who was found responsible for the deaths of four people, and injuring two others, in the drunk driving wreck earlier this year. Judge Gene Boyd sentenced Couch to 10 years probation. There has been a whirlwind of criticism ever since.

Tarrant County prosecutors wanted Couch to go to prison for up to 20 years. Now, the district attorney’s office is hoping to put Couch behind bars for severe injuries that he also caused in the crash, admitting that they cannot find a legal reason to appeal the probation sentence.

Dewhurst did not specifically mention Couch by name on Thursday, but a committee in Austin will now look into cases where an adult or juvenile received probation rather than prison time.

A spokesperson for Tarrant County District Attorney Joe Shannon said, “We appreciate the support and look forward to working with the Legislature to tighten up loopholes in the juvenile law.”

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