Monday 27 January 2020

'Affluenza teen' jailed in Texas for violating terms of his probation

 

Mum Tonya Couch awaits trial. Photo: Mark J. Terrill/AP
Mum Tonya Couch awaits trial. Photo: Mark J. Terrill/AP

Dean Gray

A Texas man who used "affluenza" as a defence at his trial for killing four people while driving drunk was arrested after authorities say he violated the terms of his probation.

Ethan Couch (22) was booked into a jail in Fort Worth after he tested positive for the psychoactive compound in marijuana, court records show.

Couch's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Jail records did not indicate whether his bond had been set.

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Couch became know as the 'affluenza teen' during his manslaughter trial for the 2013 crash. Couch, 16 at the time of the crash, was found to have a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit for adult drivers after the crash.

But a psychologist told a juvenile court that he was affected by "affluenza", or irresponsibility caused by family wealth.

A judge originally sentenced Couch to 10 years of probation. But he was later jailed after attending a party where alcohol was served and then fleeing to Mexico with his mother Tonya to avoid punishment.

He was released in 2018 after serving a nearly two-year sentence.

In 2013, Couch lost control of his family's pickup truck after he and his friends had played beer pong and drank beer stolen from a Walmart.

He veered into a crowd of people helping the driver of a disabled vehicle on the side of the road. Authorities later estimated that he was going 70mph (110kmh) in a 40mph (64kmh) zone.

The crash fatally injured the stranded motorist, a youth minister who stopped to help her and a mother and daughter who came out of their nearby home.

His mother is awaiting trial on charges of hindering apprehension of a felon and money laundering arising from when they fled to Mexico in 2015. She has been in and out of jail since then.

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