FORT WORTH, Texas - A probation sentence for a 16-year-old who killed four people in a drunk driving crash has sparked outrage among the victim's family and survivors of the crash.
Ethan Couch was sentenced to 10 years probation Tuesday by a juvenile court judge. He could have received 20 years in prison.
The crash on June 15 killed youth pastor Brian Jennings, mother and daughter Hollie and Shelby Boyles, and Breanna Mitchell, 24. Investigators said Couch was driving a pickup between 68-70 miles per hour in a 40 mph zone when he struck the victims who were standing on the side of the road outside their vehicles. Nine others were hurt. According to CNN, the boy and his friends had stolen beer from Wal-Mart prior to the crash and Couch's blood alcohol level was .24.
A psychologist called by the defense said the 16-year-old was a victim of "affluenza," which is "the product of wealthy, privileged parents who never set limits for the boy." The psychologist said that the teen's family felt that wealth bought privilege and that two years of treatment and no contact with his parents would help Couch turn his life around.
The widow of the pastor said she forgave Couch, but Mitchell's mother and victims who survived the crash expressed anger and disbelief over the sentence. "He'll be feeling the hand of God, definitely," Mitchell's mother, Marla Mitchell, told ABC affiliate WFAA. "He may think he got away with something, but he hasn't gotten away with anything," she said.