Teen paralyzed in ‘affluenza’ case to receive settlement
One of the victims injured by a teen in a fatal drunken-driving accident will receive a settlement of close to $3 million in cash and other payments.
Sergio Molina, 17, was paralyzed when then 16-year-old Ethan Couch slammed his pickup into a group of people who were helping a woman with a stalled car in June.
Four people, including the driver and three bystanders, were killed and nine others were injured.
Prosecutors said Couch’s blood-alcohol level was three times the Texas legal limit when the accident occurred. Molina was riding in the back of his pickup truck.
Couch’s attorneys used an “affluenza” defense at his trial last year, saying the then 16-year-old had grown up with a sense of entitlement and developed poor judgment after being coddled by his wealthy parents.
Molina’s family and other victims filed lawsuits against Couch’s family and their family company Cleburne Metal Works.
Many of the settlements haven’t been disclosed, but in a final civil judgment signed off on Friday in in Tarrant County District Court by Judge R. H. Wallace, some key details emerge.
Molina’s family will receive a separate cash payment of $215,000. More than $950,000 is expected to be paid toward the family’s ongoing legal and attorney fees.
In December, Couch was sentenced to probation and rehabilitation for the crime. His lawyer’s defense that he suffered from “affluenza,” spoiled to such an extent by his parents was seen as a legitimate claim by the judge.
The ruling, and the term sparked national outrage.
Thoughts on the settlement?
Does it by any means make up for the fact that Couch pretty much got off scot-free?
Sound off below!