Portland media outlets recently reported on a decision in a drunken driving case that astounded people across the nation.
In the case, a Texas teenager pleaded for leniency after he drove drunk and killed four pedestrians in a motor vehicle accident. He claimed he suffers from “affluenza” — a condition brought on by being raised by affluent parents who didn’t teach him wrong from right.
What surprised many is that the court gave the teen 10 years of probation and ordered treatment. Nothing more.
The victims and families of victims of drunken drivers were understandably upset by a sentence that appeared to dismiss the deaths with a slap on the wrist.
The families of those killed in the crash are not content to leave the matter alone, however. They have filed lawsuits regarding the June crash, honoring both the memories of their lost loved ones and seeking a higher form of justice than the criminal court gave them.
A mother of one of the women killed in the crash was actually on the phone with her daughter at the time she and the others were hit by the drunken driver. It was her daughter’s car that had broken down and was stranded roadside when a pick-up truck slammed into them.
The wife of the pastor who stopped to help the stranded motorist has also filed a lawsuit. She lost her husband and their three children lost their father in the crash.
Another suit has been filed of the parents of the young man who was riding in the teenager’s truck bed. He suffered a severe brain injury when he was thrown from the truck in the violent collision; he can no longer walk or speak.
The parents of the man who was riding with the pastor have also filed a legal claim against the driver with “affluenza.”
According to a media report, several of the lawsuits name not only the teen as responsible for his reckless behavior, but also his parents who allowed him to drive despite the fact that he is “a minor with previous alcohol offenses.”
In this case and many others, criminal courts have found reason to have pity on drunken drivers who had no pity for their victims.
Victims and families of victims can pursue justice with the assistance of an attorney experienced in successfully holding irresponsible people accountable for their actions.