Advertisement

Lawyers: 'Affluenza' teen Ethan Couch possibly forced to flee U.S.

By Amy R. Connolly
Attorneys for affluenza teen Ethan Couch suggested the 18-year-old may have been forced to flee the United States for Mexico after he was seen at a party. Photo courtesy Jalisco State Prosecutor's Office
Attorneys for affluenza teen Ethan Couch suggested the 18-year-old may have been forced to flee the United States for Mexico after he was seen at a party. Photo courtesy Jalisco State Prosecutor's Office

FORT WORTH, Texas, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Attorneys for the Texas teen convicted in a so-called "affluenza" drunk driving crash that killed four suggested he may have been forced to flee the United States for Mexico after he was seen at a party.

Lawyers for Ethan Couch said in court Tuesday there is no proof the 18-year-old "voluntarily absented himself" from being at the hearing. When asked later if Couch was taken against his will to Mexico, attorney Scott Brown responded, "I don't think that's what I said. As far as Ethan being taken against his will, we are examining the facts, investigating the facts."

Advertisement

"This is an evolving process, and whether he was involuntarily or involuntarily taken to Mexico is something that's being investigated."

Couch was on probation for a 2013 drunk driving crash before he left for Mexico in December with his mother Tonya Couch. They allegedly fled the country after the release of a video purporting to show him at a party watching a beer drinking game, which could be a violation of his parole. Mother and son were found in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on Dec. 28 after a two-week search. Tonya Couch, 48, is free on bond after she was charged with hindering apprehension of a fugitive.

Advertisement

Ethan Couch remains in Mexico, but Brown said Couch's legal team in Mexico will no longer attempt to block his return to the United States.

"They believe that he has been treated fairly by the Mexican government and all his rights are being protected," Brown told reporters Tuesday after a court session on Couch's case. "A document has been filed to release the injunction and let the process go forward."

Judge Timothy Menikos of Tarrant County juvenile court agreed to postpone a hearing to transfer Couch's case to adult court because his parents were not properly notified. The next hearing is scheduled for Feb. 19.

RELATED Unpopular ex-pharma CEO Martin Shkreli sacks legal team in fraud case

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers has vehemently opposed any leniency for Couch, convicted at age 16. The organization launched a #FightAffluenza petition demanding Couch's case be moved from juvenile to adult court, where he will likely face a stiffer sentence.

"We are upset and disappointed it wasn't able to proceed today," said Jason Derscheid, executive director of the North Texas MADD affiliate. "It's going to draw out a painful and difficult time for all the victims trying to grieve."

RELATED Study: 10% of college graduates think Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court

RELATED Supreme Court to hear class action suit over Xbox

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement