A Texas judge went along with a defense attorney’s claim that a teenage boy killed four pedestrians by driving drunk due to his parents’ contentious divorce. The boy stated his parents had never taught him to accept responsibility and because of their wealth, he was afflicted with a disease called “affluenza.” Four fatalities resulted from the drunk driving incident. After rejecting the prosecution’s request for a 20-year prison stint, the court listened to the 20-year-old’s admission of guilty to four counts of manslaughter and intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication of bodily assault.
He was sentenced to 10 years’ probation. Court records showed the young man had a blood alcohol of more than three times the legal limit for an adult when he struck four Good Samaritans, who had stopped to help a motorist who had broken down along the side of the road. All pedestrians involved in the incident were killed, including a mother and her daughter.
The teen and his friends had stolen beer from a nearby store prior to the deadly crash, according to police reports. The young man’s legal defense held the parents were responsible due to the environment he had been raised in during their toxic split. This defense was confirmed by a psychologist. The boy’s environment was fraught with poisonous arguing, unhealthy yelling and fighting. This resulted in sociopathic actions and inability to interact in a normal adult world.
The families of the four dead people are shocked, with many leaving the court in tears. One family member calculated that over 180 lives had been taken, in the chance to experience future children and families.
The parents will pay more than half a million dollars a year for rehabilitation of their son at a facility in southern California. He will stay at the juvenile detention center until psychiatrists recommend a plan of treatment. Any infractions would result in a 10-year prison sentence. The young man’s life will be under scrutiny for a decade, with one mistake landing him hard time.
Tragically, for the surviving families, money-and-wealth-fueled divorce settlements do not bring back loved ones. Divorce can make us crazy, but at some point our grown children need to accept responsibilities for their actions.