Burleson-Crowley Connection

Local News

September 26, 2013

Jennings family files suit against Couch

The family of a Burleson youth minister killed by a drunk driver in June filed a civil lawsuit this week against the 16-year-old driver, his parents and his parents’ company.

Ethan Anthony Couch was charged with four counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault in connection with the June 16 crash that killed Brian Paul Jennings, 43, youth pastor at Alsbury Baptist Church, Holli Boyles, 52, and her daughter Shelby Boyles, 21, all of Burleson, and Breanna Mitchell, 24, of Lillian.

Couch and seven teenagers who were passengers in his Ford F350 truck were all injured in the crash. Two of the passengers were critically injured and one, 15-year-old Sergio Molina, remains hospitalized and in a coma. His parents have also filed a civil suit against Couch, his parents and his parents’ company, which owned the Ford truck Couch was driving.

Two boys who were passengers in Jennings’ Chevrolet Silverado were injured but not seriously. Two Burleson teens in a Volkswagen Beetle that was also involved in the wreck were not injured.

A Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office investigation has determined that Couch, who had restrictions on his driver’s license requiring that he be accompanied by a licensed driver over 21, had a blood-alcohol content of .24 —three times the legal limit — at the time of the accident. Investigators also determined that Couch was driving about 70 mph in a 40 mph zone when the wreck occurred.

Shaunna Jennings, Brian Jennings’ wife, their children Evan, Abigail and Micah, and Jennings’ mother, Janet Henson, are plaintiffs in the civil suit filed Tuesday in the 153rd Judicial District Court in Tarrant County. Named as defendants in the suit are Ethan Couch, his father Fred Couch, his mother Tonya Couch and Cleburne Metal Works LLC, known as Cleburne Sheet Metal.

Fred and Tonya Couch are included as defendants, according to the petition, because they allowed their son to drive the truck without adult supervision, despite the restrictions on his license, and they failed to adequately supervise the teenager who had already been charged with two alcohol-related offenses before he turned 16.

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