Affluenza in the News

Young victim in Ethan Couch 'affluenza' drunk driving crash pursues jury trial

Victim in Ethan Couch 'affluenza' drunken crash pursues jury trial

Lucas McConnell was 12 years old when a drunk driving accident killed his godfather and youth pastor Brian Jennings. The driver at fault, Ethan Couch, faced up to 20 years for his role in the crash that killed a total of four people and injured nine, including McConnell.

Several of the victims’ families have agreed to confidential settlements in their civil lawsuits arising from the accident. But McConnell and his family aren’t interested in settling.

 According to attorney Todd Clement, Couch said on the night of the crash, “I only had two beers, and I am not going to get in trouble for this. I am walking home. I live up the street.”

“[The McConnells] have made the decision to prosecute this case to the full extent of the law,” a March 26 statement from attorney Todd Clement reads.

Sixteen-year-old Couch controversially avoided jail time in exchange for 10 years of probation and treatment at a rehabilitation facility. Many were outraged at the light punishment and Couches’ successful use of an “affluenza” defense, arguing that their son was so wealthy that he didn’t realize his actions had consequences.

According to Clement’s statement, Lucas McConnell recalls speaking with Couch on the night of the deadly crash. “Couch said, ‘I only had two beers, and I am not going to get in trouble for this. I am walking home. I live up the street.’”

McConnell was riding in the back of Brian Jennings’ truck and has been in regular counseling since the crash.

“The McConnells do not feel that Fred, Tonya and Ethan Couch have had to answer the hard questions everyone has about Ethan’s history of dangerous and criminal conduct, his parents’ lack of supervision despite knowledge of his drinking and driving, and what really happened that night,” the statement reads.

“Why this tragic crash and all the loss of life and injuries were not prevented must be answered.”

In addition to Ethan and his parents, Cleburne Sheet Metal is also named as a defendant in the suit. Ethan was driving a pickup truck owned by his father’s sheet metal company at the time of the crash. 

Lucas McConnell
Lucas McConnell, now 13, was one of the youngest victims of Ethan Couch's drunken actions. Photo via
Ethan Couch
Ethan Couch was 16 years old when he crashed his car and killed four people. Photo courtesy of MamasLatinas