Fifth lawsuit filed in deadly crash on Burleson-Retta Road

11/30/2013 8:47 AM

11/30/2013 8:48 AM

Relatives of a mother and daughter who were killed when they rushed from their house to help a stranded motorist have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the teenage driver of a pickup that hit the motorist’s vehicle, killing four people and injuring 12.

It is the fifth lawsuit related to the deadly crash, which occurred about 11:45 p.m. June 15 in the 1500 block of Burleson-Retta Road in southern Tarrant County.

Hollie and Shelby Boyles, who lived nearby, went outside to help Breanna Mitchell of Lillian, whose SUV had broken down. A passing motorist, Burleson youth minister Brian Jennings, had stopped to help, too.

A speeding Ford pickup with eight occupants clipped Mitchell’s SUV and smashed into Mitchell, Jennings and the Boyleses, throwing them about 60 yards, authorities have said.

The 16-year-old pickup driver’s blood-alcohol level was 0.24, three times the legal limit, and the truck was traveling 68 to 70 mph, authorities have said. The teen was charged in juvenile court with four counts of intoxication manslaughter. The Star-Telegram usually does not name juvenile defendants.

Eric and Marguerite Boyles, the husband and a daughter of Hollie Boyles, have sued the driver’s father and the family-owned company.

Todd Clement, an attorney for Eric Boyles, could not be reached to comment this week.

Randy Nelson, an attorney for the 16-year-old and his parents, said he had not seen the latest lawsuit. But he said: “This is a tragedy for everyone involved. We will work with the families and hope to resolve this in the best way possible.”

The suit accuses the teen of driving while intoxicated; driving above the 40-mph speed limit; failing to control his speed so that he could avoid a collision; having more than one person in his vehicle under age 21 who was not a family member; disregarding a restriction on his driver’s license requiring that a adult ride in the passenger seat; and possessing alcohol underage.

The suit names the teen’s father, Fred Couch, and his company, Cleburne Metal Works, and accuses him of “gross negligence” for entrusting the pickup to an incompetent or reckless driver.

The Boyleses are seeking actual damages, including burial and funeral expenses, and punitive damages.

Others who have sued the Couch family are Shaunna Jennings, the wife of the youth minister; Kevin and Alesia McConnell, whose son was in Jennings’ vehicle; Marla Mitchell, mother of Breanna Mitchell; and the parents of Sergio Molina, a passenger in the pickup who was seriously injured.

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