'Affluenza Teen' Released From Jail in Fatal Drunk Driving Case — But Mom Remains Behind Bars
Ethan Couch's defense argued he'd been coddled by his wealthy parents and didn't know the difference between right and wrong
Couch was 16 at the time of the crash. His case drew notoriety when his defense argued that his wealthy, coddled upbringing preventing him from understanding the consequences of his actions.
After that video surfaced on social media, Couch and his mother fled to Mexico in violation of Couch’s probation, which also forbade Couch, now 20, from using drugs or alcohol.
The two were caught in December 2015 in the Mexican resort town of Puerto Vallarta. Officials later charged the mother, Tonya Couch, with hindering the prosecution of a felon and money laundering, with the latter charge accusing her of withdrawing $30,000 from a bank account before leaving the U.S. for Mexico
Tonya Couch, 50, pleaded not guilty and was free on bond pending her trial next month on the charges, but was jailed March 28 following an alleged failed drug test, reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
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Her son now returns to the terms of his remaining probationary period.
The advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving spoke out against Couch’s release, releasing a statement saying his remaining probation is “small consolation” for the victims, according to local TV station NBC5 in Dallas-Fort Worth.
“Two years in jail for four people killed is a grave injustice to the victims and their families who have been dealt life sentences because of one person’s devastating decision to drink and drive,” the organization’s statement said.