Ethan Couch, who is widely known as the “affluenza” teen, appeared in an adult court on Wednesday. During the hearing, Judge Wayne Salvant sentenced the teen to 720 days in prison for violating his 10-year probation deal. In 2013, Couch was charged in a driving drunk crash, which left four people dead on the outskirts of Fort Worth, Texas. In recent months, the teen was charged with fleeing to Mexico in an attempt to circumvent the rules of his probation.
At the age of 16, Ethan Couch got behind the wheel of his car with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit. He subsequently swerved off a road and slammed into a car that was broken down on the side of the road.
The driver, 18-year-old Brenda Mitchell, who was standing on the side of the road with Hollie Boyles, her daughter Shelby, and minister Brian Jennings, were all killed. In the impact, the “affluenza” teen’s friend, Sergio Molina, was thrown from the vehicle. As a result, he was paralyzed from the neck down
Authorities later determined Ethan Couch was traveling at a speed of 70 mph.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 12, 2016
The “affluenza” teen’s arrest and trial became a point of heated controversy, as Couch was only sentenced to ten years probation for the deadly crash.
During his widely followed trial, a psychologist testified that the teen was spoiled beyond measure by his parents and therefore was unable to tell right from wrong. The psychologist said Ethan Couch suffered from a condition known as “affluenza.”
As the unusual diagnosis is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, many felt the so-called affliction made a mockery of the legal system. It was also argued that the “affluenza” teen’s parents essentially paid to keep him from being punished for the heinous crime.
In addition to 10 years probation, Ethan Couch was ordered to spend time in rehabilitation for his alcoholism. According to court documents, the “affluenza” teen underwent treatment at the North Texas State Hospital in Vernon — which cost an estimated $20,000 a month. As his parents were unable to pay for the rehabilitation and Couch’s participation in Amarillo’s Next Step Program, the taxpayers were forced to cover the $150,000 bill.
According to reports, a warrant was issued for the “affluenza” teen’s arrest in December after he failed to report for probation.
As reported by CNN, authorities later learned Ethan Couch and his mother fled to Mexico after a video emerged of the teen partying and consuming alcohol — which was prohibited per the terms of his probation.
Authorities who captured the “affluenza” teen in Mexico said they found him with a different shade of hair and a goatee, which indicates he altered his physical appearance in an attempt to cloak his identity. Tarrant County Sherriff Dee Anderson explains.
“I don’t think you go on a vacation and disappear, and don’t tell anybody, cut and dye your hair and hide out in a shabby apartment in a resort town. They fought so hard to keep him out of trouble when he killed four innocent people drinking three times above the normal limit. There’s no doubt that when the video came out and they showed him… they made the conscious decision to run… before they left for Mexico, they even threw something akin to a going away party.”
Authorities confirmed Ethan Couch and his mother were tracked down by U.S. Marshals and were found in the Pacific resort town of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. According to reports, the “affluenza” teen and his mother entered Mexico as tourists but did not have the required paperwork for a prolonged stay.
Tonya Couch was released on bond in January and is awaiting trial. She could spend over 10 years in prison for aiding and abetting a felon.
— Sostre News (@sostrenews) April 11, 2016
Following his arrest and extradition, Ethan Couch has remained incarcerated in the Tarrant County Jail. NBC News reports the “affluenza” teen was sentenced to nearly two years in prison in adult court on Wednesday for the probation violation.