Teen Charged in Death of Youth Pastor, 3 Others

Friday, Sep 13, 2013  |  Updated 1:48 PM EDT
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Teen Charged in Death of Youth Pastor, 3 Others

Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said the investigation into a crash that killed four pedestrians last month is nearly complete. Anderson said the driver of the truck in the accident, had a blood alcohol level of .24, or three times the legal limit of .08.

A North Texas teenager has been charged in connection with a crash that left four people dead and injured nine others.

Ethan Couch, 16, has been charged with four counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault.

Fort Worth investigators say Couch, was driving a pickup truck between 68 and 70 miles an hour in a 40 mph zone when he struck an SUV that was parked on the side of the road with a flat tire.

The June 15 accident killed youth pastor Brian Jennings, mother and daughter Hollie and Shelby Boyles and 24-year-old Breanna Mitchell, whom the three had stopped to help.

The four who were killed were standing outside the vehicle. Nine others were hurt.

Couch's blood alcohol content was .24, said Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson. That's three times the legal limit, although it's illegal for anyone under 21 to drive with any amount of alcohol in their system.

Scott Sharman, head pastor of Alsbury Baptist Church where Jennings worked, said he was notified that charges would be filed. "I knew charges would be coming, but we're not going to say anything else for now," Sharman said.

Couch already had a pair of alcohol citations related to an incident on Feb. 19 in the town of Lakeside, in northwest Tarrant County. Officers found him in possession of a 12-ounce can of beer and a 1.75 liter bottle of vodka. He pled no contest in both counts and was required to take an alcohol awareness class and participate in 12 hours of community services, according to court records.

Prosecutors are seeking a 20-year prison term for Couch, which is the maximum allowed for someone who is charged as a minor.

Couch was released to his parents and is wearing an ankle monitor while he awaits trial.

A trial date has not been set. 

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