18-year old Ethan Couch famously made headlines in 2013 as the Affluenza Teen, after the privileged Texas youth lost control and drove his pickup truck into a group of pedestrians on the side of the road, killing all four of them.
Couch, only 16 at the time was sentenced in juvenile court to ten years probation, on four counts of intoxication manslaughter. The teen was illegally driving on a restricted license while intoxicated on June 15, 2013, in Burleson, Texas.
With five passengers in the truck and two more in the bed, Couch was believed to be going over 70 miles per hour in a residential neighborhood. In addition to the four victims who were killed in the collision, a total of nine people were injured. Two of the passengers in Couch’s truck suffered serious bodily injury, and one other was severely paralyzed. The scene was covered with parts of vehicles and people that stretched the distance of a football field.
Couch abandoned the scene before authorities arrived.
Couch is an only child, who has been raised wealthy. The teen rarely attended school, spent weekends partying with alcohol provided by his parents, and had a plethora of disposable money available to him. Couch’s parents often left town for months at a time and allowed the teen to live in the family’s second Texas home on his own.
In December of 2013, Couch appeared in court, where his attorney argued that the reason for the fatal crash could be attributed to the teen’s condition: affluenza. The psychological ‘disorder,’ is the believed to be effect wealthy young people, who suffer from lack of motivation, a sense of isolation, and an influx of consumerism, privilege, or freedom.
Couch’s attorneys argued that the teen was not taught humility. His family had money, and the teen’s need for rehabilitation, rather than prison. Judge Jean Hudson Boyd agreed with the plea and sentenced the teen to ten years probation. She later ordered the teen to undergo long-term therapy at an inpatient facility.
In December of 2015, Couch once again made headlines when the affluenza teen fled to Mexico with his mother. The teen had not been in contact with his probation officer for weeks. After news broke of the duo’s disappearance, the teen was deported back to Texas, and scheduled for a medical screening in a juvenile facility.
In a court hearing on February 19, 2016, a Texas judge ruled that Couch’s fatal drunk driving case would be transferred to an adult court at midnight on April 11 when the teen turns 19.
Families of the victims believe Couch was given a slap on the wrist for his alleged debility. They are hopeful that this transition is an eye opener for the teen, and that justice would be served