In 2013, 16-year-old Ethan Couch was found guilty of drunkenly plowing into a group of people helping a stranded motorist, killing four of them and maiming two others. A psychologist hired by Couch's defense lawyers said the teen's extravagantly wealthy lifestyle prevented him from knowing right from wrong. Texas State District Judge Jean Boyd agreed. Instead of sending Couch to prison, she gave him 10 years probation and a stint at a luxury rehab center in Newport Beach, California, which offers cooking classes, yoga, and "equine-assisted psychotherapy."
The horse-enhanced rehab apparently didn't work, because a video recently surfaced that shows Couch, now 18, playing beer pong at a party. The conditions of Couch's probation forbid him from drinking alcohol. Shortly after that, Couch failed to show up for a scheduled meeting with his parole officer. When authorities investigated, they discovered Couch and his mother Tonya (48) were missing, along with their passports. After a brief manhunt, Couch and his mother were captured in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Couch has dyed his hair black.
The Daily Beast has more about Couch's parents, who seem like real pieces of work:
On a February night at 1 a.m., a cop found Ethan urinating in a parking lot, with a 14-year-old girl naked inside his truck, which contained a Miller Lite can and bottle of Grey Goose vodka, according to D Magazine.
Tonya paid Ethan's fines and court fees, and blamed herself when he didn't complete an alcohol class and community-service hours. She said she'd "misread the online thing."
During a deposition in a civil suit against the family a year later, Tonya was asked about the girl. "That morning?" Tonya replied. "Her mom picked her up, I assume. I guess. I don't know."
Meanwhile, Ethan's father has troubles of his own. In August 2014, police arrested Fred for impersonating a police officer, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Cops say Couch showed up to a disturbance call at a North Richland Hills home the month before and claimed to be a Lakeside reserve officer. He allegedly provided a bogus badge and ID card.
It's unclear what's become of the wannabe-cop charges.
It will be interesting to see how Couch's legal team and the justice system of Tarrant County, Texas will handle this incident, now that millions of people are paying attention.
From NBC News:
Luke Williams, a former district attorney in Lubbock, Texas, told NBC News a judge ought to be able to reinstate Couch's original sentence.
"He still has the 10 years he was probated hanging over his head," Williams said. "A judge can convert that into straight jail time."
Beyond that punishment for the drunken driving, prosecutors said they are considering new charges for Couch fleeing the country — which he achieved with help of his mom. Prosecutors said they will charge Tonya Couch for helping her son flee.
On Tuesday, prosecutors announced for the first time that they intend to charge her with "hindering apprehension," a major offense under Texas law. It carries a possible sentence of one to 10 years in prison.