No jail time for ‘affluenza’ drunk driver

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – A Texas teen won’t spend any time in jail for a drunk driving crash that killed four people.

“He came from wealth and privilege, and he had a high priced attorney who came up with a bogus term,” said Nelson Pinette from South Hadley.

Ethan Couch won’t spend a day in jail for getting behind the wheel with a blood-alcohol level three times the limit and plowing into a group of people who were helping a woman whose car had broken down. The then 16-year-old also had traces of Valium in his system when he caused the crash that killed four of those people. But it wasn’t his fault, his lawyers argued. His wealthy parents were to blame, after coddling their son into being irresponsible.

“The person in question was under 18 years old. Obviously the parents are going to be held accountable for their son’s actions. Now it’s going to cost the parents hopefully millions. The money talks and you know what walks,” Pinette added.

Last year, Couch was given 10 years probation for the crash. But he was back in court this week after prosecutors requested 20 years in jail for severely injuring two of Couch’s own passengers. The judge decided the most reform would happen in the nearly half-a-million-per-year rehab facility his parents will cover.

“Just like anyone else. Forget the fact his parents have a lot of money, other people would do time for that. I just think that ruling is crazy, “ said Sherry Harris from Holyoke.

Couch had seven passengers in his truck when he crashed. One suffered several broken bones and internal injuries; another is paralyzed and can only communicate by blinking.

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