Ethan Couch's family to pay paralyzed victim $2 million - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Ethan Couch's family to pay paralyzed victim $2 million

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The family of a North Texas teenager who killed four people in a drunken-driving wreck has agreed to pay more than $2 million to the family of a boy who was paralyzed in the accident, according to court documents detailing the first approved settlement in the case.

The liability insurer of Ethan Couch's parents agreed to pay more than $1 million in cash and the rest in annuities to a trust established for Sergio E. Molina, who was among 12 people injured in the wreck last year near Fort Worth.

Couch's case drew national attention after his attorneys argued that his wealthy parents coddled the then-16-year-old into a sense of irresponsibility, which one witness termed "affluenza." He was sentenced to 10 years of probation and ordered to a rehab facility.

Molina, who was riding in the back of Couch's pickup when it flipped on June 15, 2013, can now only smile and blink, according to his parents. He has been in the hospital since the June accident.

Molina was a standout soccer player at Central High School in Keller. He had ambitions of playing in Barcelona, Spain.

His older brother, Alexander Lemus, said his family was disappointed in the settlement.

"We're not happy about it, but we just have to take what we got and strive for better days," he said Tuesday.

Along with the cash payment, the Couches' insurer will buy two annuities to make monthly payments of $1,515 and $1,837 to the trust starting in July, and another annuity to cover attorneys' fees, according to Tarrant County court documents.

Lemus says his family hasn't seen a dime, but that the attention has all been on Couch.

“How I feel is that the focus has been swirled upon rehabilitating a juvenile delinquent.” said Lemus.

Still, Lemus says he can't dwell on what happened 11 months ago and that he must concentrate on his brother's needs now.

He appreciates the kindness from strangers and friends, like those who organized a benefit soccer tournament in Sergio's honor. Every day is difficult, but he's optimistic about Sergio's future.

“I'm still standing with my brother, and he's coming back,” said Lemus. “I don't know when, I don't know how, but we're standing together as one family trying to make it.”

On the day of the crash, Couch swerved and hit a stranded motorist and three people who had stopped to help her. All four were killed.

The pickup also rammed a parked car, sending it into another car traveling in the opposite lane, before the truck rolled over and smashed into a tree. Molina was tossed out and landed on his head.

Molina's parents sued Couch and his parents after the accident. Five other families of the injured or killed also have settled with the Couches, pending court approval. Details of those settlements haven't been released. One family is seeking a jury trial.

Randy Nelson, the attorney representing Couch's parents, Fred and Tonya Couch, declined comment to The Associated Press on Tuesday.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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