Settlement Reached in Fatal Texas Drunk Driving Lawsuit

Posted on Oct 18, 2015

Lucas McConnell was among a group of good Samaritans who were helping at a Texas accident scene when a drunk 16-year-old driver hit the group of people in June of 2013. The driver, Ethan Couch, killed four people in that accident including Brian Jennings, a youth pastor and Luke’s godfather. Luke, who was just 13 at the time of the crash, was not critically injured in the accident.

Sometimes a Lawsuit Is About More Than Money

The McConnell family filed a lawsuit on behalf of Luke, and reportedly could have settled the case a long time ago. However, the case settled in October of 2015, just weeks before trial. For the McConnell family, the lawsuit was never about the money. Instead, it was about protecting Luke’s interests. According to WFAA news, Luke will receive $60,000 to be paid out in annual installments for his college education.

Attorney Tom Hall was appointed as the attorney ad litem to represent Luke’s interests. According to Mr. Hall, "It's about protecting the child's interests, and the parents were very selfless. They gave everything to the child." As for Luke, Mr. Hall says, "Lucas is making a strong recovery, and I'm happy he's doing well as he is overcoming this terrible tragedy."

Luke’s parents have told the media that he is now 15 years old and that he is doing well in school. Since the case settled before trial, Luke did not have to testify about the accident in the courtroom.

In preparation for trial, the Couch family and Dick Miller, the psychologist who coined the term "affluenza" to excuse Couch’s actions, participated in videotaped depositions. The depositions aired on 20/20 in October 2015. Ethan Couch is currently on juvenile probation, but may be transferred to adult probation soon.

This was the last civil case to be settled from this accident.