NPR for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
ALERT: KERA News 90.1 is performing essential tower maintenance which may disrupt our over-the-air signal between July 12-14. Click here for the KERA News stream, or listen on our app or smart speakers with no disruption. Thanks for your patience!

Ethan Couch, Who Blamed 'Affluenza' In Fatal Drunken Driving Incident, Released From Jail

Bob Booth
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Ethan Couch leaves the Tarrant County Corrections Department as his attorney is interviewed Monday

A 20-year-old Texas man who used a so-called “affluenza” defense to fight a drunken driving conviction in 2013 was released from jail Monday.

With his release, Ethan Couch, will have a strict curfew and wear an electronic monitoring device. He also won’t be able to operate a vehicle without a breathalyzer.

Couch was just 16 when he crashed his Ford pickup into a group of people trying to help a stranded driver in the town of Burleson. Four people were killed.

A psychologist at his manslaughter trial blamed his irresponsibility on family wealth, dubbing it "affluenza." A juvenile court sentenced him to 10 years of probation.

But Couch violated his probation after he attended a party where alcohol was served. He and his mother then fled to Mexico in 2015. 

Tonya Couch awaits trial on charges of hindering apprehension of a felon and money laundering.

Couch was brought back to Tarrant County and his probation was revoked. He has spent the last two years in jail.

Watch video of Couch's release, courtesy of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Photo credit: Bob Booth for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.