Texas man who invoked 'affluenza' defense released from jail

Ethan Couch, who killed 4 people in a drunken wreck, claimed he never had limits set for him by his wealthy, privileged parents.

Posted: Apr 2, 2018 9:57 AM

(CNN) -- Ethan Couch, known for his "affluenza" defense in his deadly drunk driving case, was released from a Texas jail Monday after serving nearly two years behind bars for violating his probation.

Couch, 20, first made headlines as a teenager when he was sentenced to probation for a drunken driving crash that killed four people and seriously injured two others.

Prosecutors in that 2013 case sought 20 years in jail, but Couch received no prison time after a psychologist testified that Couch was a victim of "affluenza," a product of wealthy, privileged parents who never set limits for him.

The decision by the juvenile court judge to put him on probation for 10 years outraged victims' families and anti-drunk driving advocates.

In 2015, Couch violated the terms of his probation and fled to Mexico with his mother, Tonya Couch. They were found and sent back to the US, where a Texas judge ordered nearly two years of jail time for Couch.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving described the two years Couch has spent in jail as "a grave injustice to the victims and their families."

"The 720 days Ethan Couch served for his crimes shows that drunk driving homicides still aren't treated as the violent crimes that they are," the organization said in a statement.

It vowed to keep monitoring the case because it "brought to light that there is so much more work to be done to hold drunk drivers accountable."

As part of Couch's current probation, he will be required to wear an ankle monitor, an alcohol detecting patch, submit to drug testing, abide by a 9 p.m. curfew and have a video interlock ignition device installed in his vehicle, according to Mike Simonds of the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office.

Couch's mother is currently facing charges of money laundering and hindering apprehension of a felon for helping her son flee to Mexico. Tonya Couch recently had her bond revoked after failing a drug test and is behind bars in the Tarrant County Jail, the sheriff's office said last week.

The deadly wreck

In June 2013, the pickup truck that Couch, then 16, was driving plowed into four pedestrians on a road in Burleson, Texas, authorities had said.

Hollie Boyles, and daughter, Shelby, had left their home to help Breanna Mitchell, whose SUV had broken down. Brian Jennings, a youth pastor, was driving past and also stopped to help. They were all killed.

Two people riding in the bed of the pickup were tossed in the crash and severely injured. One of them suffered a brain injury and filed a lawsuit against the Couch family, which was settled.

Three hours after the crash, tests showed Couch had a blood alcohol content of 0.24, three times the legal limit, according to the district attorney's office.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Huntsville/Madison
Mostly Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 53°
Muscle Shoals
Partly Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 59°
Huntsville/Madison
Mostly Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 53°
Decatur
Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 56°
Fort Payne
Mostly Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 51°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 443009

Reported Deaths: 6662
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson649101007
Mobile31746574
Madison28413217
Tuscaloosa21566275
Montgomery20088332
Shelby19452132
Baldwin17333189
Lee13261107
Morgan12678142
Etowah12141181
Calhoun11555206
Marshall10487123
Houston9031164
Limestone838181
Cullman8296124
Elmore8243110
Lauderdale7946107
DeKalb7900107
St. Clair7876130
Talladega6523112
Walker6050183
Jackson603245
Colbert558194
Blount548586
Autauga540762
Coffee466964
Dale412785
Franklin377550
Russell358415
Chilton346873
Covington340880
Escambia339244
Tallapoosa3163109
Dallas313696
Chambers305470
Clarke303336
Pike265231
Lawrence255855
Marion254661
Winston234742
Bibb222948
Geneva213047
Marengo210531
Pickens200431
Hale186144
Barbour183438
Fayette178829
Butler174860
Cherokee166031
Henry160025
Monroe152621
Randolph146636
Washington142727
Clay130746
Crenshaw124845
Macon122837
Cleburne122125
Lamar120622
Lowndes116836
Wilcox108322
Bullock104628
Perry100518
Conecuh98022
Sumter90627
Greene77923
Coosa64018
Choctaw52124
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 710427

Reported Deaths: 8970
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby790251186
Davidson73248697
Knox40335452
Hamilton35983347
Rutherford34271298
Unassigned23946140
Williamson22259150
Sumner18862237
Out of TN1644883
Montgomery15200153
Wilson14878167
Sullivan13002221
Blount12382136
Washington12206206
Maury11337131
Bradley11263101
Sevier10877123
Putnam10200152
Madison9364186
Robertson793088
Hamblen7261119
Anderson7031116
Greene6779117
Tipton639571
Coffee578584
Gibson5767117
Dickson559082
Cumberland556777
Bedford546092
Roane536083
McMinn524674
Lawrence524369
Carter5215121
Warren511656
Loudon510352
Jefferson497078
Dyer487487
Monroe471964
Hawkins461473
Franklin426067
Fayette415953
Obion406683
Rhea391858
Lincoln388347
Cocke359063
Marshall358140
Cheatham350332
Weakley345948
Campbell338742
Henderson338659
Giles334476
Carroll318362
White317749
Hardeman315854
Hardin306650
Lauderdale299934
Macon294751
Wayne270325
Henry269960
Overton260546
McNairy249042
DeKalb247443
Haywood245650
Marion236233
Smith235430
Trousdale230617
Scott230432
Claiborne230033
Hickman229836
Fentress217835
Grainger217240
Johnson205335
Morgan196616
Crockett183738
Chester179039
Bledsoe178211
Unicoi170147
Cannon161721
Lake158522
Polk150517
Decatur149027
Union145725
Grundy143622
Sequatchie142120
Humphreys137717
Benton134135
Lewis131121
Meigs119216
Stewart112220
Jackson106624
Clay96526
Perry96325
Houston95226
Moore8319
Pickett69220
Van Buren6758
Hancock4227

Community Events