Survivor Pursues Lawsuit Against Teen In Deadly DWI Crash
BURLESON (CBS 11 NEWS) – A North Texas family says they are not settling with Ethan Couch’s family. In fact, they want a jury to hear their lawsuit. The family says their young son is still traumatized and dealing with the impact of the deadly crash that happened last summer.
In all, sixteen people were involved in the Father’s Day multi-vehicle accident that, according to police, started when Breanna Mitchell lost control of her SUV and ended up in a ditch. A mother and her daughter, 42-year-old Hollie Boyles and 21-year-old Shelby Boyles, went to help Mitchell.
A youth pastor for Alsbury Baptist Church, 43-year-old Brian Jennings, also stopped to help. All four people — Mitchell, Jennings and the Boyles — were struck and killed by a pickup driven by 17-year-old Ethan Couch.
Lucas McConnell is one of the youngest victims. The teenager, along with his attorney and parents, spoke for the first time Wednesday after the deadly accident.
Lucas said, “I just like keep finding myself asking why this happened. I’ve yet to see anything good come out of it.”
Lucas is just 13-years-old, but he already sees the world differently. Forced to mature beyond his years, instead of worrying about school, and his friends, he’s reliving what happened to him last summer.
“I know everyone always says things always happen for a reason, but I don’t really see a reason yet. I know I would like to and I know other people around me would like to. I just hope I will be able to find the reason this happened.”
Lucas was with his youth Pastor Brian Jennings when he stopped to help the stranded driver. McConnell stayed in the vehicle and was not only badly hurt himself, but he watched Jennings, who was also his godfather, die.
Speaking of Pastor Jennings, McConnell’s father, Kevin, said, “[He was] probably the most non-blood related most important person in his life.”
The loss has been unbearable for the McConnell family. Since the crash, Lucas has problems sleeping and still needs counseling.
Kevin McConnell believes there were a lot of factors leading up to the horrific event on June 15, 2013. “It was a crash that was a culmination of a series of bad decisions, destructive decisions, destructive actions,” he said.
Couch pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years probation and intensive therapy. His case got national attention after his psychologist presented a defense now called “affluenza” — an argument that a combination of wealth and bad parenting meant he was incapable of making good decisions.
The McConnell’s say it’s time someone held Couch accountable.
Attorney Todd Clement represents the family. “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.”
The McConnell’s attorneys say they hope depositions will begin in April, after which they will ask for a trial date.
CBS 11 News reached out to the Couch family and their attorney but calls have yet to be returned.
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