'Affluenza' Texan, who killed 4 driving drunk, released from jail

Dubbed the "Affluenza Teen", Ethan Couch drove drunk in 2013 and killed four people, and he shocked the world when he was only given probation for his crime.

Couch pleaded guilty to four counts of intoxication manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years of probation and time in a rehabilitation center.

Couch's case attracted global attention in 2013 after a psychologist testifying on his behalf said the teen suffered from something called affluenza.

As he fled to Mexico, Couch's probation was still being supervised by the juvenile court system, which meant his probation could only be revoked until April 11, 2016, his 19th birthday. Couch's attorneys argued his wealthy upbringing made it impossible for him to understand the consequences of his actions, dubbing it "affluenza".

After a video surfaced on Twitter two years later of Couch playing beer pong, he and his mother, Tonya Couch, fled the United States.

Couch was 16 years old when he killed four people in 2013 while driving drunk. Couch's blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit on the night of the crash.

Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn said he doesn't agree with Couch's "affluenza" defense. Couch, who turns 21 next week, is prohibited from drinking alcohol while he is on probation. The fiasco resulted in Couch and his mother taking off for Mexico, staying on the run for weeks, and finally captured in December 2015 after using a cellphone to order Domino's pizza. From the beginning, Ethan has admitted his conduct, accepted responsibility for his actions and felt true remorse for the bad consequences for those actions. An global search for the pair ensued but it ended when authorities tracked them down to a "resort town in Puerto Vallarta after they used a cellphone to order a pizza from Domino's", according to The Dallas Morning News. The twist is, that she was sent to the same jail as her son.

Just last week, she returned to jail after failing a drug test, prosecutors said.

"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, vowing to keep a close eye on his case.

  • Joey Payne