Jac Floyd of the Dallas Morning News brings us more details about the 16-year-old drunk driver sentenced to 10 years probation after killing four people — this, by a judge who bought the defense’s argument that the kid had been spoiled rotten by his rich parents, and couldn’t be held fully responsible for his actions. From Floyd’s column:
In case you’re worrying over where 16-year-old Ethan Couch has been since last summer, when he got fall-down drunk and killed four people in a gruesome drunken-driving wreck, set your mind at ease.
He has been staying at an exceptionally pleasant campus-style residential counseling center near Newport Beach, Calif. It specializes in chef-prepared meals, equine therapy, martial-arts training, yoga and nature hikes.
It’s described as a “respectful recovery environment” where teenagers can get the “unconditional love they need to heal.”
The website for the rehab center where the defense team wants Couch to be returned offers potential clients a reassuring message under a section headed “for teens.”
“Don’t be too intimidated by the idea of going to treatment,” the text reads. “We make it as interesting and engaging as it can be and we actually have fun, too.”
’Cause if it isn’t fun, what’s the point?
She’s snarking, of course. Here’s a page from the website of the Newport Academy, the fancy California treatment facility where this brat has been holed up; it shows you what kind of digs he’s been enjoying. His four victims are in the grave. Reader JerriB posted the following comment on my earlier post about this travesty of justice:
A friend of mine worked that scene as a FWPD officer. She expects the officers to be dealing with the PTSD for a long while. The details she gave me as we talked over coffee (I’m an emergency responder, and we debrief together sometimes) were beyond what most of us can fathom. This kid was taken to the hospital for the blood draw for his test. Even after considerable time, his blood alcohol level was over 4x the legal. The whole time he was at the hospital, he was telling people the pills he took and how much alcohol he drank and was bragging about how he could hold his liquor, and after the blood draw, he asked if they were going to give him a ticket…and laughed. He knew nothing. He didn’t know he hit anyone. He didn’t know he had paralyzed one of his buddies in the truck. He remembered nothing.
I don’t think he should get 20 years. He’ll just come out of jail a leech on society. However, I think he should have to work in the morgue. I think he should have to sit with these families Christmas day and see what they experience. I think he should have to attend this youth group where these kids are asking how something so horrific could happen to their pastor. I think he should be forced to face what he did. Maybe that seems cruel to some folks, but this kid killed 4 people and has no mental or physical consequence. There is no remorse because he doesn’t remember doing anything. Maybe the best consequence he can have isn’t jail time but real time seeing what he did, not just the event but the consequences.
BUT, if he is that emotionally flat, his seeming indifference will only hurt the families more.
AND, I think his parents should be arrested for negligence and tried for homicide by association or as a participant. Give his parents the 20 years. As I recall, a few years ago, a mom was arrested for murder because she did not get her child inoculated for measles. The child didn’t get sick but was a carrier. Another child caught it from this kid at a playground or something and died. If that mom can remotely be held responsible for that child dying of measles, these parents are responsible for four counts of vehicular manslaughter and endangering minors and a whole slew of other “never get out of jail” things.
He managed to achieve his blissful state of wastedness by stealing beer from a Walmart before driving into two parked vehicles, killing a stranded driver, a youth minister who had stopped to assist and two other Good Samaritans who were trying to help.
Of the seven other teens jammed into Couch’s truck, four were tossed, and two remain seriously injured.
Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson called the crash “probably the most difficult accident scene we’ve ever had to work.”
Instead of prison, Boyd accepted the defense recommendation to send Couch to what seems like a fairly comfortable rehab center in Southern California. Couch’s dad agreed to foot the annual $450,000 bill. Let’s presume this is not an option available to the great majority of teen intoxication manslaughter defendants.
Despite all the death in his wake, Ethan Couch didn’t learn a thing he didn’t already know: It’s far better to come from that wealthy place where actions seldom have those nasty old consequences. That’s for other folks.
This story infuriates me. Snotty little rich kid. One of the kids who was in his truck is paralyzed and brain-damaged, and can only communicate by blinking an eye. Yet Ethan Couch is going to Club Med.