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Victims' family speaks out after wealthy teen sentenced to probation for DUI deaths

By: ABC News Email
By: ABC News Email
Ethan Couch, 16, was sentenced to 10 years probation after he caused a fatal accident that left four people dead and another severely injured.

ABC News

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Houston (ABC) -- A Texas man who lost both his wife and daughter after they were struck and killed by a drunk teenage driver, is speaking out against the sentencing the teen received.

Ethan Couch, 16, was sentenced to 10 years probation after he caused a fatal accident that left four people dead and another severely injured. Couch was driving 70 mph in a 40 mph zone when the accident occurred. Prosecutors had asked for the maximum sentence of 20 years in juvenile hall with parole available after two years.

Afterwards police found he had a blood alcohol level of 0.24, three times the legal adult limit, and had valium in his system.

Eric Boyles lost his wife Hallie and only daughter Shelby in the accident. They had stopped to help a stranded motorist by the side of the road.

Boyles told ABCNews.com that although he knew it was an option, he never believed that Couch could receive just probation for his sentence.

"For the most part I think it's fair to say that everyone was disappointed in the sentence," Boyles said, referring to the victims' families. "It never crossed our minds that [probation] was a reality."

A psychologist in the trial argued that Couch was a product of too much privilege and had never been reprimanded for his actions and therefore was not responsible for his actions, calling him a product of "affluenza."

Boyles said he was frustrated, and he felt that the wealth of Couch's family protected him from a more severe sentence.

"At some point there should be some level of accountability for their actions," Boyles said. "I'm not sure how our justice system has gotten to this."

Before the final sentencing, Boyles and other families of the victims were able to directly address Couch and the judge. Boyles said Couch never made any remarks to the families, even when one family asked him a direct question.

"Nowhere in this process did Ethan ever say to the families, to the court, 'I'm so sorry for what happened,'" said Boyles. "Nowhere did Ethan express any remorse or anything."

Boyles said he also spoke to the judge before the sentencing, because he was concerned that Couch might get extra consideration for the sentencing.

"My request to the judge and Ethan is 'You be treated like any other 16 year old,'" Boyles said. "That the 'affluenza' and…power and influence not come into play here in this verdict and unfortunately it did."

Boyles said he feels the justice system let down his family.

Speaking of his wife and daughter Boyles said, "There was something baking in the stove and something in the oven ... and now's there nothing. The house is just stark and sterile."


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