World

Mother of 'affluenza' teen Ethan Couch booked into Texas jail

Fort Worth, Texas: Tonya Couch is back in Texas and in the Tarrant County Jail.

Mrs Couch, who waived her right to extradition in a Los Angeles County court, flew into Dallas/Fort Worth Airport on an American Airlines flight and was whisked away in a caravan of Tarrant County Sheriff's Department vehicles.

Wearing handcuffs that were draped by a blue jacket and ankle cuffs, Mrs Couch was booked into jail and will be arraigned before state District Judge Wayne Salvant on Friday morning local time.

Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said he spoke with a subdued Mrs Couch at the airport.

"She was very quiet, very reserved, very respectful and appreciative," Sheriff Anderson said at a news conference.

Mrs Couch is accused of helping her son, Ethan Couch, flee to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, after he missed a juvenile probation appointment, and hindering his apprehension, a third-degree felony. The two were detained by Mexican authorities last week.

Advertisement

It is not clear when Ethan Couch will return. He remained in a Mexican detention centre after taking legal action to delay his deportation to the United States.

If Ethan Couch agrees to return, he'll be brought back to Texas by the US Marshals Service, Sheriff Anderson said.

Sheriff Anderson said he is "totally unfamiliar" with the Mexican judicial system.

"If justice had been served the first time, we wouldn't have had this issue," Sheriff Anderson said. "Ethan Couch should have been locked up."

With seven passengers in his Ford F-350 pick-up, Ethan Couch, who was 16 at the time, was driving drunk and speeding on June 15, 2013, when he crashed into a group of people trying to help a stranded motorist.

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 Ms Mitchell; and Burleson youth minister Brian Jennings, 41, a passer-by who had also stopped to help.

Nine other people were injured, including passengers in Ethan Couch's pick-up.

Ethan Couch, who had a blood alcohol content of 0.24, three times the legal limit, also had traces of Valium in his system.

Tarrant County prosecutors asked for Ethan Couch to be sentenced to 20 years in a state lockup, but defence attorneys argued that he would be better served in a rehabilitation facility.

State District Judge Jean Boyd, who has since retired, sentenced Ethan Couch to 10 years' probation and to intensive therapy.

Because he was portrayed during his trial as an immature teen from a wealthy but dysfunctional family – with a passing reference by a witness to his being a victim of "affluenza" – Ethan Couch's sentencing became a national news story in the US.

He was back in the news late last year after a short video posted on Twitter appeared to show him playing beer pong at a party, which would be a violation of his probation. Missing the appointment with a probation officer is also a violation.

TNS

Follow FairfaxForeign on Twitter

Follow FairfaxForeign on Facebook

Advertisement