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‘Affluenza Teen’ Ethan Couch Arrested After Allegedly Violating Probabation

More than a year after he was released from jail, Ethan Couch is accused of violating his probation, court records show. An arrest warrant for Couch was issued ...
Ethan Couch Courtesy Tarrant County Jail
Ethan Couch Courtesy Tarrant County Jail

More than a year after he was released from jail, Ethan Couch is accused of violating his probation, court records show.

An arrest warrant for Couch was issued Thursday morning. He was booked into the Tarrant County Jail shortly after 1 p.m., county officials said, and will be held without bail per a judge’s order.

When Couch was released from jail in April 2018, he had to wear a GPS monitor, adhere to a 9 p.m. curfew and submit to regular alcohol and drug testing.

Court records show Couch tested positive for Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Couch, 22, was dubbed the “affluenza teen” during his trial for killing four people in a 2013 drunken-driving crash. At the time of the fatal wreck, Couch had a blood alcohol content of 0.24, said Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson, three times the legal limit of 0.08 for an adult.

During the trial, a psychologist testified Couch suffered from “affluenza” and said he couldn’t make good decisions because he was brought up in a wealthy household with a lifetime of coddling.

Couch, 16 at the time of the crash, served almost two years in jail as an added condition of his 10-year probation sentence.

He was allowed to have the GPS monitor removed in March, according to court documents.

These are the four people who lost their lives in that crash on a rural Burleson road on June 15, 2013:

  • Breanna Mitchell, 24, whose SUV stalled on the roadside.
  • Hollie Boyles, a neighbor who came to help her.
  • Shelby Boyles, 21, Hollie’s daughter, who also came to assist.
  • Brian Jennings, a youth minister who stopped to help while driving by.

Nine other people were injured in the crash, including one of Couch’s friends who was left paralyzed.

After the trial, many thought Couch should have received a harsher sentence, and the issue was a key point in the 2014 Texas gubernatorial election.

Couch lived in a Texas rehabilitation facility following his sentencing. In November 2015, the Tarrant County District Attorney filed a motion to transfer Couch from juvenile court to adult court. He turned 19 in 2016.

In December 2015, a viral video allegedly showed Couch at a party playing beer pong in October of that year. He also missed a check-in with his probation officer that month, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

After the viral video hit the internet, Couch fled to Mexico with his mother Tonya, sparking an international manhunt. While there, some locals said Couch was seen at a strip club doing drugs and racked up a $1,000 tab with lap dances and drinks.

The two were arrested later that December in Puerto Vallarta, a Pacific resort city, after a cellphone trace tracked them trying to order a pizza. Couch was 18.

In January 2016, he waived his extradition rights and returned to Texas for trial, where he was placed in juvenile detention for a short time before being transferred to Tarrant County jail’s maximum-security unit in February.

Later that month, Couch’s trial for violating his probation was transferred to an adult court.

In April 2016, State District Judge Wayne Salvant sentenced Couch to four 180-day stints in jail – one for each person killed in the crash – as a condition of his probation. He was transferred out of maximum-security prison into a “less restrictive” facility in May 2016.

Also in May 2016, Tonya Couch was indicted on charges of hindering apprehension and money laundering.