The 16-year old driver of the Ford pickup involved in a crash that killed four people and injured eleven was officially charged by the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office. Eric Crouch faces four counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault, the district attorney’s office explained. Crouch appeared at a hearing with his parents at the Scott D. Moore Juvenile Justice Center, where officials requested he be held until his trial. The judge released the teen to his parents, but required him to wear an ankle monitor.
According to court records, Crouch was driving a pickup truck, carrying seven other teenagers, going between 68 and 70 miles per hour, when he clipped an SUV on the side of the road that had gone into a culvert after suffering a blowout. The driver of the SUV, 24-year old Breanna Mitchell, was receiving assistance from three good Samaritans, Alsbury Baptist Youth Minister Brian Jennings, Hollie Boyles, and Boyles 21-year old daughter, Shelby. All four were killed when Crouch’s pickup truck struck them. After striking the SUV, the pickup struck Jennings vehicle, parked along the side of the road and containing a 12- and 13-year old. Jennings vehicle was pushed into the path of a Volkswagen Beetle. The occupants of the Beetle were not injured, while the children in Jennings vehicle were transported to area hospitals. Crouch’s truck left the roadway and struck a tree, throwing Sergio Molina and Solomon Mohmand, both 15, from the bed of the truck where they were riding. Molina remains in a coma.
Drinking Before Accident
Surveillance footage at a local Wal-Mart shows several of the teens involved in the accident shoplifting two cases of beer from the store about an hour before the crash. However, there are indications that the teens began drinking much earlier than the time they stole the beer. Molina’s family filed a lawsuit seeking $20 million in damages due to their son’s injuries. There is no information regarding whether Molina was involved in the beer theft or had been drinking prior to the accident.
Teen Faces Jail Time
If convicted, Crouch faces up to 20 years in jail for the charges. Court documents also say that the four struck by the pickup were thrown 50 to 60 yards, and that his blood alcohol content was 0.24, which is more than three times the legal limit in Texas. In addition, Crouch had been cited for possessing and consuming alcohol just four months prior to the crash. The prosecutor chose to try Crouch as a juvenile, but to request a determinate sentence where the teen would begin serving in a juvenile facility, but transfer to an adult facility when he turns 18. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2418796/Ethan-Couch-crash-Teen-times-legal-alcohol-limit-killed-injured-12-car-pile-up.html)
When someone else’s negligence is suspected as the cause or a contributing factor in a car accident that causes injury or death, a wrongful death or personal injury claim may be in order. Contact Dallas-Fort Worth lawyers at Frenkel & Frenkel to schedule a free initial consultation regarding an auto accient where injuries may have been caused or worsened by negligence.