Ethan Couch, known as the “affluenza teen” after receiving only 10 years of probation when he was convicted as a juvenile for killing four people while driving drunk in Texas, has not been in contact with his probation officer and officials believe he may have fled the country.
In June of 2013, Couch and a group of friends had stolen beer from a Walmart. After drinking all of the stolen alcohol, they decided to get back into a car and go in search of more beer.
Breanna Mitchell’s SUV had ended up in a ditch on the side of the road, when youth pastor Brian Jennings, Hollie Boyles and her daughter Shelby Boyles, stopped to help.
Couch, who was highly intoxicated behind the wheel and had a carload of seven other teens, then crashed in to the four innocent people who were on the side of the road, killing them all. At the time of the crash, the teen’s s blood alcohol was more than three times the legal limit for adults in Texas, reported as being .24.
The usual punishment for this type of crime is between two and 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000. Couch avoided this sentence by using the “affluenza defense,” claiming that because his parents allowed him to get away with everything he was unable to understand the consequences of his heinous actions. Ultimately, he was given a slap on the wrist because he is a rich spoiled brat, receiving only probation and some time in a luxury rehabilitation facility.
A few weeks ago, a video surfaced showing Couch playing beer pong at a party, an obvious violation of his probation which could land him in prison for 10 years. The defense attorney’s office declined to comment on this video, saying it is still under investigation.
Spokesman for the Tarrant County sheriff’s office, Terry Grisham, said “Any mess-ups from now on, he’s going to be over with us. He’s going to see what the big-boy jail is like.”
Couch and his mother have been unable to be located though, so bringing him to justice now isn’t going to be easy. Authorities suspect Couch may have fled the country. According to Dee Anderson, Tarrant County Sheriff, “With the wealth and the wherewithal that his family has, it’s going to be a tough assignment for us to find him.”
“He ruined a lot of lives,” Anderson continued. “We’re determined to make sure he’s fully accountable within the boundaries that are set in the case. He needs to be brought back.”
Judge Jean Boyd, the judge who originally sentenced Couch has since retired, and hopefully the new judge will have better sense when and if Couch is found.
“It’s one of those times when you hate to say, ‘I told you so,’ but I told you so,” the sheriff said. “I knew he was going to end up in more trouble.”
Watch Couch continue to enjoy life below:
Featured image via NY Daily News
April has studied political science, psychology, and philosophy. Back in the good old days she was a reporter for “old fashioned” print newspapers. In addition to news and politics, she also blogs about service dogs and disability advocacy. As a black woman with a disability, she is fed up with the right-wingers who would prefer that she and others like her didn’t exist.