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

  • Parent furious after driver keeps children on school bus over 'misbehaviour'

    Canada News CTV News
    A Toronto-area school board is investigating after dozens of children were dropped off at home more than an hour late, following unscheduled stops by their bus driver to quiet raucous behaviour. Some of the students, who attend Mount Royal Public School in Brampton, Ont. Source
  • Ont. vet caught abusing animals on video is back to work

    Canada News CTV News
    An Ontario veterinarian who was suspended for misconduct after being caught on video abusing pets in his care has returned to work at a St. Catharines clinic, but he hasn’t received a warm welcome. Veterinarian Mahavir Singh Rekhi did not speak with reporters as he left Skyway Animal Hospital on Wednesday. Source
  • Woman who feared she would lose potential love interest lied about rape: Police

    World News Toronto Sun
    A New York woman is facing charges after police say she lied about being raped by two football players at a party to get sympathy from a prospective love interest. Nikki Yovino, 18, has been charged with falsely reporting an incident and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. Source
  • End of transgender bathroom rule receives conservative praise

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Conservatives are praising the Trump administration's rollback of public school bathroom requirements for transgender students, saying the move corrects a legal overreach by the Obama administration that is best left for states to decide. Source
  • 'No hope' of bail for Quebecer accused of smuggling drugs on cruise ship, withdraws bail application

    World News Toronto Sun
    SYDNEY, Australia — One of three Canadian women accused of trying to import a large amount of cocaine into Australia last year while on a luxurious cruise will remain in custody until her trial is scheduled to begin on Aug. Source
  • SCC to rule on whether police opinion at drug-impairment trials is expert evidence

    Canada News CTV News
    The Supreme Court of Canada is set to rule Thursday on whether a police officer’s opinion on a motorist’s level of drug-induced impairment should be accepted as expert evidence at trial. Officers can administer field sobriety tests for suspected drug impairment, but unlike alcohol, there’s currently no roadside test such as a breathalyzer. Source
  • NYC lowers cost estimate for presidential protection to $24M

    World News CTV News
    New York City has lowered its cost estimate for guarding U.S. President Donald Trump, his family and their Manhattan residence. Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill has written to New York's Congressional delegation to seek reimbursement. Source
  • Husband of Spain's princess avoids jail while awaiting appeal

    World News CTV News
    MADRID -- The brother-in-law of Spain's King Felipe will avoid imprisonment but must show up in court in Switzerland, where he lives, once per month while he waits for the Supreme Court to rule on an appeal to a fraud and tax evasion guilty verdict. Source
  • Explosion near market in upscale Pakistan neighbourhood kills 8

    World News Toronto Sun
    LAHORE, Pakistan — Explosives in a building under construction ignited Thursday, ripping through a market in an upscale neighbourhood in the eastern city of Lahore, killing eight people, officials said. It was not immediately clear whether the explosives were meant to be a bomb or were merely stored in the building. Source
  • Pakistani official: Explosion kills 8 in city of Lahore

    World News CTV News
    LAHORE, Pakistan -- Explosives in a building under construction ignited Thursday, ripping through a market in an upscale neighbourhood in the eastern city of Lahore, killing eight people, officials said. It was not immediately clear whether the explosives were meant to be a bomb or were merely stored in the building. Source