Following the ruling against Ethan Couch – the 16-year-old who killed four people and injured two others in a drunken-driving wreck in June – has polarized the seemingly. For those who may not know, Couch was let off the 20-year sentence as a result of “affluenza,” and was sentenced to 10 years’ probation instead.
Couch’s defense team reasoned that he was a product of an extremely wealthy family, and has never had to suffer the consequences of his actions. Possibly one of the main other reasons that Couch was let off the normal punishment was that he was a minor. Despite this fact, we have found other minors charged with nearly the same crimes:
- Jamie Arrellano, 16: Sentenced to 20 years in prison. Arrellano was drunk when he ran a red light and crashed his Ford Explorer into a Ford Mustang, Killing Martha Mondragon, a pregnant 31-year-old woman, and injuring Mondragon’s 6-year-old daughter. Arrellano was 16 at the time, as well as an undocumented immigrant, was convicted of two counts of intoxicated manslaughter and one count of intoxicated assault. Though Arrellano was the same age as couch during the incident, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
- Paulino Cruz, 18: Sentenced to 30 years in prison. Cruz was an 18-year-old in 2010, and was driving his pickup when he skidded across a median and hit a Ford Focus, killing three people and injuring one. Cruz was sentenced to 30 years in prison and ordered to pay $317,160 to his victims’ families.
- Tyler James Poort, 18: Sentenced to 10 years in prison. Tyler James Poor, of Midland, ran a red light in a Ford Explorer in 2012, colliding with a semi-trailer truck and killing the driver, 39-year-old Dominic Caccavale. Poor was then ordered to spend 10 years behind bars for one charge of intoxicated manslaughter.
- Jose Luis Sanchez, 19: Sentenced to 9 years in prison. During a summer night in 2010, Jose Luis Sanchez was 19-years-old when he was driving drunk and over the speed limit in his pickup truck. He then clipped a motorcyclist and then drove off the road and right into a group home, paralyzed drunken driver 35 years before, died five days later.
- Marcos Garza, 19: Sentenced to 8 years in jail. Garza killed a 35-year-old-nun in Houston in the Spring of 2011 when he ran a stop sign in his pickup truck. At the time of the accidents, Garza’s blood-alcohol content was found to be over twice the legal limit. He was then sentenced to 8 years in prison for intoxicated manslaughter.
The Couch sentencing was arguably one of the strangest juvenile rulings to come out of Texas in quite some time. While these other teens committed the same crimes as Couch, they received much more stringent sentences than he.