‘Affluenza’ DUI Teen Nears Prison Release


Ethan Couch, widely known as the “affluenza teen,” is set to be released on April 2 after serving a 720-day sentence for violating his probation for a 2013 drunken driving crash that killed 4 people.

Couch will be released from Tarrant County Jail in Fort Worth, Texas, after serving almost 2 years in jail. After violating his probation, he was sentenced to serve 180 days for each of the four victims he killed as a 16-year-old.

The terms of his probation required Couch to avoid alcohol consumption, but in 2015, a video surfaced online that depicted him playing a drinking game at a party. Couch did not attend his next probation meeting and instead fled to Mexico with his mother, Tonya Couch.

The mother and son were caught in Puerto Vallarta after police tracked their cellphone when they tried to order a Domino’s pizza, according to the Dallas Morning News.

The pair was arrested and brought back to the US, where the teen’s case was transferred to the adult system. Tonya Couch was charged with hindering apprehension of a felony and money laundering. She is currently free on bond before her trial.

Ethan Couch gained widespread attention for his “affluenza” defense in 2013, when a defense psychologist at his manslaughter trial attributed his actions in the drunken driving deaths to “affluenza,” a lower sense of responsibility due to family wealth. At the sentencing, the psychologist, Dr. Dick Miller, stated that Couch’s parents “taught him a system that’s 180 degrees from rational. If you hurt someone, say you’re sorry. In that family, if you hurt someone, send some money.”

Couch initially avoided prison and was sentenced to probation for killing four people and majorly injuring two others when he rammed a pickup truck into a crowd of people helping a disabled motorist in Burleson, Texas. Couch’s BAC level was three times the legal limit for an adult.

According to the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, David McClelland, Couch will report to the community supervision and corrections department for supervision requirements after his release.

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