The family of a Texas teenager sentenced to probation after killing four people in a drunken-driving wreck will pay for just a fraction of his court-ordered treatment, a court official testified Friday.
Ethan Couch’s parents will be charged $1,170 a month for his treatment at the North Texas State Hospital in rural Vernon. That amount would cover less than two days of treatment, which costs $715 a day, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
Couch’s case drew national attention due in large part to his defense’s argument that his wealthy parents had coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility – a condition that a defense expert called ‘affluenza.’
Couch, 17, killed four people last year when his vehicle rammed into a crowd of people trying to help the driver of a disabled vehicle south of Fort Worth. Investigators said he was driving his family company’s pickup truck while drunk and with traces of Valium in his system.
Couch admitted to causing the wreck and received 10 years’ probation from State District Judge Jean Boyd rather than prison time, as prosecutors and Couch’s victims wanted. Several of his victims have since sued the Couch family, with most of them reaching confidential settlements.
Debbie Spoonts, placement supervisor for Tarrant County Juvenile Services, said the facility decided what Fred and Tonya Couch would pay based on a sliding scale.