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

  • CBC News takes home 44 awards at 2017 RTDNA

    Canada News CBC News
    ?CBC News journalists scooped up 44 awards on Saturday at the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) awards, honouring national and regional work in TV, web and radio. "All these awards recognize our excellence on all platforms," said CBC News editor in chief Jennifer McGuire, noting the CBC took home the lion's share of the 75 awards. Source
  • Family, friends hail the 2 men who died trying to stop attack

    World News CTV News
    PORTLAND, Ore. -- Helpful co-workers. Reliable friends. Well-liked by many who encountered them. Those were the descriptions family, friends and colleagues gave of Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, and Rick Best, 53, the two men who were stabbed to death Friday when they tried to intervene when a man yelled racial slurs at two young women who appeared to be Muslim on a Portland light-rail train. Source
  • 'Cowboys and Indians'-themed party prompts anger at Alberta high school

    Canada News CTV News
    Students at an Alberta high school are being accused of racism and cultural insensitivity after a “Cowboys and Indians”-themed graduation party was held off campus. Images of students from Chinook High School in Lethbridge, Alta. Source
  • Bangladesh reinstalls Lady Justice statue that irked Islamists

    World News CTV News
    DHAKA, Bangladesh -- A sculptor says authorities in Bangladesh have reinstalled a Lady Justice statue near the country's Supreme Court, two days after its removal following complaints by Islamist hard-liners. Sculptor Mrinal Haque said Sunday workers put the statue back in place a few hundred metres from its original location. Source
  • Andrew Scheer sells conservatism with a smile

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    <p>That big grin. It's the first thing everyone notices about newly elected Conservative leader Andrew Scheer.</p> <p>It'll be what the regular voter first sees when Scheer goes to bat one on one against Justin Trudeau in the polls. Source
  • Scheer new Conservative Party leader

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — The final votes will be cast today for a new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. Some 259,000 people are eligible to vote, deciding between 13 candidates running the gamut from former cabinet ministers to one who has never held public office. Source
  • CTV's W5, local stations win RTDNA awards

    Canada News CTV News
    CTV’s investigative program W5 has won three awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association. W5 won the Dave Rogers Award for Best Long Feature for Network Television for “In Their Footsteps.” The episode features Sandie Rinaldo as she follows a group of Canadian high school students, chaperones, and Holocaust survivors on their emotional tour of Nazi concentration camps in Poland. Source
  • CTV News wins 'best newscast' at RTDNA awards

    Canada News CTV News
    CTV News has been named Best Television Newscast by the Radio Television Digital News Association and CTV’s investigative program W5 has picked up three RTDNA awards. CTV National News, anchored by Lisa LaFlamme, won the Bert Cannings Award for Best Television Newscast at the annual RTDNA awards gala, held Saturday in Toronto. Source
  • Hot air balloon crashes in Alberta just after man proposes marriage

    Canada News CTV News
    A man’s wedding proposal on a hot air balloon didn’t go exactly as planned but his girlfriend still said yes -- and both are excited to have an “awesome” story to tell. Christine Peters says she had wanted to go for a ride in a hot air balloon ever since she was a little girl. Source
  • Andrew Scheer: a profile

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA - When Andrew Scheer first started telling people he was considering a run for the leadership of the federal Conservatives, he’d often get a raised eyebrow in response. Scheer served four years as Speaker of the House of Commons, following several years of serving as deputy Speaker. Source