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Why having rich parents supposedly caused drunk driving deaths

When a drunk driving accident occurs, the simple and obvious thing to blame the wreck on is the alcohol. Of course, there is the person who drinks and then drives, who is certainly deserving of the blame -- right?

Not according to a recent out-of-state case involving a deadly DUI crash. Behind the wheel of the fatal June crash was a 16-year-old, a very drunk 16-year-old. He was charged and pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter after killing four victims. So why didn't the defense or judge harshly blame the kid for his wrongdoing?

Though the teen was on trial for the fatal drunk driving crash, it sounds like it was his parents on trial instead. The teen's defense put a psychologist on the stand who testified that the boy suffered from a condition dubbed "affluenza." No, it isn't a sort of flu or stomach bug like it sounds.

It is a condition of coming from a wealthy family and suffering an emotional disconnect as a result. In a less clinical-sounding description, affluenza seems like a fancy term for what happens to a kid's sense of right and wrong when he is spoiled.

That word play is all fun and games until someone gets hurt. In this drunk driving case, four people were killed, while two others were seriously injured. Despite the severity of the accident, the supposed condition of affluenza saved the defendant from serving any time in jail.

Fox News doesn't report if there are civil cases pending on behalf of the victims and their families. We will post an update if we hear of related developments.

Someone who has lost a loved one or was injured in an alcohol-related crash does have rights, even if the responsible driver is a teen or is spoiled. A personal injury lawyer can help navigate the way toward setting things right following a wrong.

Source: Fox News, "Families outraged over teen's probation-only sentence in fatal DWI crash," Dec. 12, 2013

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