Ethan Couch, who made international headlines after killing four people in a car crash and claiming an “affluenza” defense, has been released from prison. Couch, now 20, was set free on Monday morning after serving just 720 days.
On June 15, 2013, Couch, then just 16 years old, was behind the wheel of his father’s Ford F-350 truck traveling at 70 miles per hour when he crashed into a SUV that was stopped by the side of the road.The teen was driving dangerously and had even been playing chicken with oncoming cars, according to Tarrant County Assistant Criminal District Attorney Richard Alpert.
The crash killed the driver of the SUV, 24-year-old Brenna Mitchell, and three other people — Brian Jennings, Hollie Boyles, and Shelby Boyles — who had stopped to help Mitchell after her tire blew out. A fifth victim, Sergio Molina, was riding in the car with Couch. He was paralyzed, and can now communicate only by blinking.
Police administered a blood test, which showed that Couch had a blood level of .24 — or three times the legal limit.
At trial, a psychologist who testified on Couch’s behalf claimed that the teen suffered from “affluenza” as a result of his privileged upbringing. Couch’s parents had spoiled him, never said no to him, and failed to set boundaries, the psychologist argued, which left Couch essentially unable to take responsibility for his actions.
Couch was not initially sentenced to any jail time at all. Instead, a judge gave him 10 years of probation. But two years later, a video surfaced on Twitter of Couch playing beer pong.
Tonya Couch was charged with hindering apprehension of a known felon and money laundering, but released on bond.
Now that he is a free man, Couch must adhere to a 9 P.M. curfew, and will be required to wear a GPS and alcohol monitor. He will also reportedly have an ignition interlock device attached to his car.
Couch’s lawyers, Scott Brown and Reagan Wynn, announced: “Now, nearly five years after this horrific event, Ethan does not wish to draw attention to himself and requests privacy so he may focus on successfully completing his community supervision and going forward as a law-abiding citizen.”
In a strange development, just days before Couch was released, his mother, Tonya, failed a court-ordered drug test as was arrested. Her trial will begin in May.
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Main photo: Ethan Couch [Jalisco State Prosecutor’s Office]