Ethan Couch, the Texas teen who’s “affluenza” case attracted national attention, can possibly face time in jail now that a judge has decided to try the 18-year-old as an adult.
Couch was placed on 10 years probation for killing four people in a DUI crash in 2013. Defense claimed Couch suffered from “affluenza,” meaning his privilege and family wealth failed to show him true consequences for his actions. His probation however, would have ended on his 19th birthday in April if he remained in the juvenile system. In December, the teen escaped to Mexico with his mother.
A viral video showing the teen drinking has been labeled the reason why the teen decided to head south.
Juvenile Judge Timothy Menikos ruled Friday morning Couch will be tried as an adult with his probation extending to February 2024. Couch faces 120 days in jail if the court rules the Mexico incident as a violation of the juvie probation.
Victims for the DUI and members of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization were present on Friday with some of them calling Couch’s punishment light. Alex Lemus, the brother of Sergio Molina, who suffered brain injury in the 2013 crash, says Couch needs to pay for his actions.
Lemus stood next to Molina in front of the courthouse Friday morning.
“Look at my brother,” Lemus said. “He’s doing more than 10 years on probation.”
They’ve got so much money. They need to pay,” he said. “We need some help.”Molina’s lower body was covered with a fleece blanket with pictures of soccer balls, footballs and basketballs. He wore braces on both arms. He made few facial expressions as his brother spoke.
Molina was in the passenger seat of the truck Couch drove the night of the accident. Molina is paralyzed in addition to his brain injury.
Couch’s mother, Tonya Couch, was placed in house arrest until her felony charges are brought to trial. She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted for hindering apprehension of a criminal.