Texas ‘affluenza’ teen jailed for nearly 2 years

FILE - In this Feb. 5, 2016 file photo provided by the Tarrant County Sheriff's Department, Ethan Couch, 18, appears in a booking photo, in Fort Worth, Texas. Couch, who used an "affluenza" defense in a deadly drunken-driving wreck, will appear at a hearing Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, over whether to transfer his case to the adult system. Couch could face 120 days in jail as part of an adult sentence and if he violated his probation, up to 10 years for each of the four people killed in the 2013 wreck. (Tarrant County Sheriff's Department via AP, File)

FORT WORTH, Texas (KXAN) — The Texas teenager who used an “affluenza” defense in a fatal drunken-driving wreck has been ordered to spend nearly two years in jail.

State District Judge Wayne Salvant said Wednesday that Ethan Couch must spend 180 days in jail for each of the four people he killed in 2013 when he rammed a pickup truck into a crowd of people helping a motorist. The sentences will be served consecutively.

Salvant earlier said he would not rule on Couch’s jail time immediately.

It was Couch’s first appearance in an adult court.

Couch was 16 and his blood-alcohol level was three times above the legal limit for adult drivers when the crash occurred.

Couch and his mother were caught in Mexico after fleeing a possible probation violation. He has been has been in custody in Texas since January.


In 2013, Couch was sentenced to 10 years of probation for a drunk driving crash that killed four people. During the trial, a psychologist described Couch, who was 16 at the time of the crash, as a rich kid whose parents didn’t set limits for him. The defense strategy of “affluenza” and Couch’s light sentence sparked outrage.

Last December, he and his mother left the country after a video showed the teen at a party where alcohol was served; violating his probation. Both Couchs were found in Mexico several weeks alter. Tonya faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of hindering the apprehension of a felon.

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