The infamous “affluenza teen,” who killed four people in Texas while driving drunk in 2013 when he was 16, is scheduled to be released from jail Monday, a few days before his 21st birthday, after serving nearly two years in prison.
About five years ago, Ethan Couch’s case made national headlines after his lawyers bizarrely tried to explain his crimes as a case of “affluenza,” explaining the term to mean that because he grew up rich, he was unable to properly discern right from wrong, as Reuters notes.
At the time of the collision in June 2013, Couch’s blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit for an adult. Nonetheless, some of his lawyers’ ridiculous claims appeared to work, as he initially was sentenced to 10 years of probation and ordered to attend a cushy California rehabilitation facility to be paid for by his parents.
But about two years later, video surfaced showing the teen appearing to violate his probation, which mandated that he stay away from drugs and alcohol. Authorities started searching for Couch after the video made circles online, but he and his mother, Tonya Couch, fled to Mexico (once again enabling Couch), where they were later apprehended and deported back to the U.S.
In 2016, someone finally decided to hold Couch accountable for his actions, with a Tarrant County, Texas, judge transferring his probation to the adult system and ordering him to serve 720 days in jail, 180 days for each of his four victims—the apparent maximum sentence available.
Tonya Couch, who was apprehended on charges of helping her son flee the country, had been free on bond while awaiting trial, but was sent back to jail last week for violating her own probation by failing a drug test, Reuters notes.
I guess the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree.