The so-called “affluenza teen” was allowed to remove his GPS monitor last week, but he still must comply with other conditions of his release, according to Tarrant County court documents.
Ethan Couch, 21, of Fort Worth, was allowed to remove the monitor on March 18 almost a year after he was released from jail. He was originally sentenced to 10 years probation for driving drunk and causing a crash that killed four people in 2013.
His case drew national attention after a psychologist described Couch as a spoiled teen who grew up in a rich and dysfunctional family, as a victim of “affluenza.”
Under terms of his release, Couch still must be confined to his home. He is subject to a curfew that doesn’t allow him to leave home until 4 a.m. daily, returning by 9 p.m.
Couch must also have to use an alcohol monitor and wear a substance abuse test patch as instructed by authorities. Couch will be responsible for paying for the monitoring and he must obtain a new patch every 10 days.
And he cannot operate any motor vehicle without a camera-equipped ignition interlock device.
He must notify officials immediately when he is prescribed any medications, according to court documents.
The psychologist made the comment during Couch’s original trial in 2013 at which he had admitted responsibility — basically pleading guilty — to four counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault causing serious bodily injury.
Couch was 16 when he was speeding in his Ford F-350 pickup truck on Burleson-Retta Road in southern Tarrant County and came upon people trying to assist a stranded motorist. He was drunk, with a blood alcohol level of 0.24, and crashed into the group, setting off a series of crashes that killed four people and injured 12.
Killed were Breanna Mitchell, 24, of Lillian, whose car had broken down; Hollie Boyles, 52, and Shelby Boyles, 21, who lived nearby and had come outside to help Mitchell; and Burleson youth minister Brian Jennings, 41, a passer-by who had also stopped to help.
After being sentenced he went through rehab and in December 2015 a video surfaced that showed a person who appeared to be Couch playing beer pong. He did not appear for a probation hearing and instead fled to a Mexican resort with his mom, Tonya Couch.
They were arrested later that month in Mexico and in April 2016 state district Judge Wayne Salvant sentenced Couch to 720 days in jail as a new condition of his probation.
He was released from jail in April 2018.
A trial for Tonya Couch is scheduled for June 24 in Criminal District Court No. 2.
This report contains information from Star-Telegram archives.