Texas authorities search for teen who used 'affluenza' defence

DALLAS - Authorities are investigating whether a teenager who killed four people in a 2013 drunken-driving wreck - and claimed as part of his defence that he was coddled too much by wealthy parents - has fled with his mother to avoid a potential violation of his probation.

See Full Article

Prosecutors said Wednesday they're trying to determine whether Ethan Couch, 18, was one of the people drinking at a party in a video posted on social media earlier this month.

Lawyers for Couch issued a statement saying his probation officer hasn't been able to reach him for several days, prompting authorities to issue the juvenile equivalent of an arrest warrant for the teen. They're also seeking the boy's mother, Tonya Couch, with whom he had been living.

Sam Jordan, spokeswoman for the Tarrant County district attorney's office, said investigators with Tarrant County Juvenile Services and with the district attorney's office are searching for the two. DA investigators are working to verify whether it's Couch who's seen in the video, she said.

When Couch was prosecuted in juvenile court, his lawyers invoked the affluenza defence that claimed his irresponsible lifestyle was due to wealthy parents who coddled him. He was later sentenced by a judge to probation and time in a rehabilitation centre - a punishment that drew protests from prosecutors and others.

Although Couch is now considered an adult, his case remains in juvenile court because his offence occurred when he was a minor. The DA's office has filed a motion to move it to adult state District Court when Couch turns 19 in April. A hearing has not been scheduled to consider the motion.

"We're limited on what can be released because for now it remains a juvenile matter," Jordan said.

The case against the teen has generated outrage at various turns, with even the Texas Legislature at one point weighing in.

A pickup driven by Couch in June 2013 was travelling at more than 65 mph (105 kph) along a dark, two-lane road south of Fort Worth when it barrelled into a disabled vehicle and a group of people who had stopped to help the stranded motorist.

Couch was 16 at the time. His blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit for an adult and there were traces of Valium in his system.

Among the dead were a youth pastor and a woman and her daughter. Twelve others were hurt, including two critically injured teens who were among seven people riding in Couch's pickup.

One of the attorneys, Reagan Wynn, did not return a call for comment Wednesday.

In the months after the wreck, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst asked the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice to review how probation sentences are issued in adult and juvenile cases of intoxication manslaughter.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Montreal mosque denies asking that female construction workers be barred from site

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Members of a Montreal mosque are denying a TV report it asked for female construction workers to be excluded from a site opposite their building. They say they were surprised and astonished to hear about the report broadcast on the TVA network. Source
  • Kingston man, 60, charged with sexually assaulting daughter, 16

    Canada News CTV News
    KINGSTON, Ont. - Kingston police say they have charged a 60-year-old man for allegedly sexually assaulting his teenage daughter. They say they were contacted by Family and Children's Service about a suspected sexual assault last Friday. Source
  • Former 'Apprentice' star Omarosa Manigault Newman to leave White House job

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The White House says Omarosa Manigault Newman -- one of U.S. President Donald Trump's most prominent African-American supporters -- plans to leave the administration next month. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Manigault Newman's resignation is effective Jan. Source
  • Theresa May trying to fend off party dissent over Brexit deal

    World News CBC News
    British Prime Minister Theresa May warned rebellious lawmakers in her own party they could endanger the smooth exit from the European Union if they tried to change her Brexit blueprint later on Wednesday. May has tried to avert a rebellion in Parliament by promising Parliament a series of votes on any deal to leave the EU "as soon as possible" after Brexit talks end, but offered little new ahead of Wednesday's session. Source
  • 'Inflammatory' claims cited in appeal of Saskatchewan swimming mishap settlement

    Canada News CBC News
    The University of Regina is appealing a jury's decision that awarded $9.1 million to a woman who was left a quadriplegic after a swimming accident at the school. Miranda Biletski was 16 in June 2005 when she hit the bottom of the university's pool during a dive. Source
  • Alabama voters were sharply divided by race, religion, gender, exit polls indicate

    World News CBC News
    U.S. political pundits routinely caution against making sweeping statements based on exit poll data from elections. They also warn that special Senate or House races are unique in normal circumstances, let alone one in which an already controversial candidate faced potentially damning allegations of sexual misconduct that only arose during the campaign. Source
  • Ex-NHL star's wife: Trump made advance on me in elevator

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- The wife of Hall of Fame hockey player Luc Robitaille has tweeted about an encounter with Donald Trump more than two decades ago in an elevator at Madison Square Garden. Stacia Robitaille wrote Monday on Twitter that Trump "was aggressive & told me I was coming home with him. Source
  • Republicans grill deputy attorney general over perceived special counsel bias

    World News CBC News
    Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, facing congressional questions about anti-Donald Trump text messages exchanged between two FBI officials assigned to the Russia probe, defended special counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday and said he had seen no cause to fire him and didn't receive encouragement to do so. Source
  • Blue Origin successfully launches and lands upgraded spacecraft

    World News CBC News
    Private space company Blue Origin has successfully launched and landed an upgraded rocket and a new crew capsule that it bills as having "the largest windows in space." The seventh flight of the company's New Shepard suborbital spacecraft at the company's West Texas launch site Tuesday carried a test dummy called Mannequin Skywalker, equipped with sensors. Source
  • Canada's response to Rohingya humanitarian crisis tops $50M

    Canada News CBC News
    Canadian donors have chipped in $12.5 million to help Rohingyas escaping violence in Myanmar, bringing Canada's total aid to address the humanitarian crisis to $50 million. More than 625,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since August 25, 2017, most of them women and children. Source