Teen who used ‘affluenza’ defense for fatal drunk driving crash set to be released next week

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP/WSVN) – A 20-year-old, who as a teenager used an “affluenza” defense for a drunken-driving wreck that killed four people, is set to be released April 2.

Ethan Couch originally avoided prison and instead was sentenced to probation for killing four people and seriously injuring two others when he rammed a pickup truck into a group of people who were helping a disabled motorist in Burleson, Texas. Couch was 16 at the time.

Dr. Dick Miller, a psychologist at his manslaughter trial, blamed his actions on “affluenza,” or irresponsibility due to family wealth.

Miller claimed Couch’s parents “taught him a system that’s 180 degrees from rational. If you hurt someone, say you’re sorry. In that family, if you hurt someone, send some money.”

The terms of Couch’s probation required that he abstain from consuming alcohol, but in 2016, his probation was revoked when a video showing him playing a drinking game at a party appeared online.

Shortly after the video surfaced, Couch and his mother fled to Mexico, where they were both arrested and taken into custody. Since then, Couch has been serving a 720-day sentence — 180 days for each of the four victims he killed as a 16-year-old.

Couch’s mother, Tonya Couch, awaits trial on charges of hindering apprehension of a felon and money laundering. She’s free on bond.

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