Driver in Perrelle case accepts his fate, but is the punishment enough?

Tears filled the courtroom Thursday morning from all sides, as many heard the fate of the driver that killed Jenna Perrelle.

Posted: Jun 13, 2019 7:44 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI)--In the courtroom on Thursday morning, both sides were filled with emotion. 

Bryce Switzer-Couthen accepted his fate for the death of Jenna Perrelle. 

He was the driver in the accident that took her life on Valentines Day.

Switzer-Couthen, 16, pleaded guilty to reckless homicide and criminal recklessness under the agreement.

He will spend 300 days in the Indiana Department of Corrections followed by probation until he's 19.

Prosecutor Terry Modesitt says the Perrelle family agreed with these terms.

They were not at the hearing.

Family friends of Perrelle spoke on the family's behalf saying this is a "nightmare" and "the family will forever be incomplete". 

Modesitt said the family didn't want to see the case be moved to adult court and experience a trial. 

"Obviously they're the ones that suffered the biggest loss in this entire case, you can't replace a child ever," said Modesitt. 

"They already knew what was going to happen today (Thursday) so now the question is do you want to go through the additional pain to sit there and see what you already know what was going to happen or not," said Modesitt. 

Modesitt said in his role as a prosecutor, he would've liked to have seen a harsher punishment.

Switzer-Couthen wasn't charged as an adult, but if he were, the highest sentence for reckless homicide is six years.

Modesitt wants reckless homicide to be considered a higher felony. 

This would allow prosecutors to fight for longer sentences. 

Modesitt told News 10 at a press conference he's worked with lawmakers and other prosecutors to lobby for this change.

"Give the legal system, the judges more discretion as far as there's more of a high end to this kind of offenses to where a life is taken," said Modesitt. "We feel like the penalty overall as prosecutors is insufficient," said Modesitt. 

Modesitt says he wants people to simply think before they act. 

Regardless of age, the law will hold people accountable. 

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