The Ethan Couch Case Revisited: More Outrage, But One Fierce Victim

Posted on April 21, 2014


Remember Ethan Couch, the Affluenza Boy? The spoiled rich kid who slaughtered four and injured nine (some permanently) while drunk and speeding on a dark residential road? Whose parents had never disciplined him for anything, ever, no matter how serious? Whose lawyers argued… successfully… that young Mr. Couch couldn’t be held responsible for this horrific and deadly act because he had never previously learned personal responsibility? Who was sentenced to probation, rehab, and no contact with his parents… but no jail time?

Well, the outrage is back, and bigger than ever.

It turns out that young Mr. Couch is not in the fancy private rehab center his parents wanted… no, the judge rejected that request and ordered Mr. Couch to the state-owned North Texas State Hospital. I think it’s great that the over-privileged, over-entitled Mr. Couch is in a no-frills public facility just like anyone else, and I wish him a nice loooooong residency there. I hope he actually does get rehabilitated.

But I have a bone to pick with the judge regarding payment for services rendered: as ordered by the court, Couch’s parents are paying a mere five percent of the $261,000-per-year inpatient treatment costs. Texas taxpayers foot the other 95%.

Really, Judge? Really? The whole case hinged on the claim that the Couches were so wealthy and indulgent that their son had no grasp of reality or responsibility, and that their son’s crimes were directly attributable to parental failures; the Couches requested a $450,000-per-year facility at their own expense; and yet you order the taxpayers to pay 95% of their little monster’s treatment costs at a state-run facility? Why are you so eager to help the Couches conserve the toxic wealth that has brought so much misery to the public?  The Couches should be paying the full financial measure of their son’s misconduct, especially since they claimed in court that wealth was the cause of it all.

Fortunately, as we discussed before, this is just the kind of case that merits civil lawsuits. Six victims have filed suit against the Couches and their business, which owned the truck that young Ethan was driving; three have accepted cash settlements, but sadly, from what little the public can know, insurance money is covering at least part of those settlements. It seems that the rich and spoiled Couch family just keeps getting one break after another.

One victim, 13-year-old Lucas McConnell, wants to change that. He was one of the two boys injured while waiting for his father in a vehicle parked on the side of the road when Ethan Couch ripped through their reality. “A bleeding Lucas crawled through a broken window to see carnage that no 12-year-old should see,” reports the Dallas News. Now, Lucas and his dad, Kevin McConnell, are refusing settlement offers and demanding a jury trial. As Jacquielynn Floyd writes, “13-year-old Lucas McConnell and his parents want Ethan Couch and his parents to explain themselves, to expose the reasoning that would lead parents to let an arrogant, self-entitled 16-year-old drink, party, drive a huge truck, live largely on his own and even get arrested, all with minimal consequences.”

I’d like to know that too, and I’d also like to know why the Texas criminal courts just can’t seem to bring the weight of the justice system against this deadly destructive, rich, over-entitled family.

The remains of the truck Couch was driving.  Photo Credit: WFAA

The remains of the truck Couch was driving. Photo Credit: WFAA