“Affluenza” Teen Who Killed 4 People Out Of Prison After Serving Just Two Years

Ethan Couch [Jalisco State Prosecutor's Office]

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.

Related: Woman Texted “Drunk Driving Woo” Before Fatal Crash

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 pickup truck Ethan Couch was driving, after the accident [Tarrant County Sheriff's Office]

The pickup truck Ethan Couch was driving, after the accident [Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office]

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.

Related: 6 Parents Who Enabled Their Criminal Kids

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.

Related: Missing “Affluenza” Teen Ethan Couch Detained With Mom In Mexico

Tonya Couch [Tarrant County Sheriff's Department]

Tonya Couch [Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department]

Believing that his probation would be revoked, Couch and his mother, Tonya Couch, fled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. They were caught after authorities tracked an order for Domino’s pizza to them — and Couch was returned to the United States in early 2016 after fighting extradition. In April 2016, he was sentenced to 180 days for each of the four people killed, to be served consecutively.

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.

Related: “Affluenza” Teen’s Father Arrested … For Impersonating A Police Officer

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]



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