A controversial incident involving a Texas teen, Ethan Couch, who killed four people in a drunk driving accident is apparently not over. On Tuesday, the office of the District Attorney in Tarrant County, Texas, announced in a press release that they would be working to put the teenager in jail on two cases of intoxication assault from the crash that occurred last June. More information has arisen in the background of 16-year-old Couch, who was given a controversial probation sentence in a drunken driving crash that killed four in June.
Couch was with seven of his teenage friends that evening. They had stolen alcohol from a nearby grocery store just before the accident took place. Couch was tested on the scene and reportedly showed a blood alcohol level of .24. He was driving 70 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour zone. Based on police reports filed that night, Couch hit a sports utility vehicle parked on the side of the road and plowed into four people including a youth pastor at a nearby Baptist church. Police reports showed that the young man acted very belligerent to officers at the scene.
Breanna Mitchell was on her way home from her catering job when she realized that she had a flat tire. Hollie Boyles and her daughter, Shelbie, were walking nearby and stopped to offer aid. Brian Jennings, a youth minister from a local church, also pulled over to help. All four individuals were standing outside of Mitchell’s car when Ethan Couch struck them with his vehicle. The scene investigation revealed that Couch’s car was going about 68 miles per hour and never braked.
In the trial, Texas State Judge Jean Boyd sentenced Couch to probation instead of the expected 20 years in prison that the prosecutors were hoping would be the actual decision. Boyd, in her decision, indicated that she agreed with the defense attorneys when they argued that the crime was the directly caused by the fact that the teenager grew up in an affluent home. They called this condition “affluenza” which refers to the idea of wealth opening the door to privilege and erasing any logical connection between consequences and behavior.
Naturally, the case has stirred up much reaction nationwide. Most seem to be angry at Boyd as they felt that Couch deserved prison time. Since the sentence was announced, reports in the Dallas/Fort Worth area have unearthed more information concerning not only Couch, but his family as well.
In 1989, Ethan’s father Fred Couch has 23 entries in police records in Johnson County, Texas. These entries include charges of theft by check, criminal mischief, and assault. In all instances, the cases were dismissed.
Tonya Couch, Fred’s ex-wife since their divorce in 2007, received a reckless driving charge in 2003.
Joe Shannon, District Attorney for Tarrant County, noted in his press release that Couch had admitted fault in the two cases of intoxication assault and four cases of intoxication assault. Shannon said that no verdict was entered in either of the intoxication assault cases. He said his office would be asking the court system to incarcerate Couch for those two charges.
It was also recently discovered that Couch often stayed in a several thousand square foot home near where the accident took place. It is listed in property records as belonging to his mother but sources told local reporters that Couch used it as a place to party with his friends.
All of this information came out this week just as the District Attorney decided to pursue charges against Ethan Couch.
By Rick Hope