FORT WORTH, Texas – The family of the Texas teenager at the center of the “affluenza” case has agreed to pay more than $2 million to the family of one of the victims, Sergio Molina, who is paralyzed from the neck down.
The case drew national attention after attorneys argued the teen's wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility after he killed four people in a drunken-driving wreck.
According to court documents detailing the first approved settlement in the case, the liability insurer of Ethan Couch’s parents has agreed to pay more than $1 million in cash and the rest in annuities to a trust established for Molina, who was among the 12 people injured in the wreak last year near Fort Worth.
Couch, 16, was sentenced to 10 years of probation and ordered to a rehab facility.
Molina, who was riding in the back of Couch's pickup when it flipped, can now only smile and blink, according to his parents. He has been in the hospital since the June accident.
His older brother, Alexander Lemus, said his family was disappointed in the settlement.
"We're not happy about it, but we just have to take what we got and strive for better days," he said Tuesday.
Along with the cash payment, the Couches' insurer will buy two annuities to make monthly payments of $1,515 and $1,837 to the trust starting in July, and another annuity to cover attorneys' fees, according to Tarrant County court documents.
Molina was in the back of Couch's pickup truck on June 15, 2013, when Couch swerved and hit a stranded motorist and three people who had stopped to help her. All four were killed.
The pickup also rammed a parked car, sending it into another car traveling in the opposite lane, before the truck rolled over and smashed into a tree. Molina was tossed out and landed on his head.
Molina's parents sued Couch and his parents after the accident. Five other families of the injured or killed also have settled with the Couches, pending court approval. Details of those settlements haven't been released. One family is seeking a jury trial.
Randy Nelson, the attorney representing Couch's parents, Fred and Tonya Couch, declined comment to The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.