Authorities are still searching for a troubled Texas teen who may have violated his probation after killing four people in a 2013 drunken-driving accident – and they now fear he may have skipped town.
After Ethan Couch crashed his pickup truck at more than 65 mph into a group of people who had stopped to help a stranded motorist, he was sentenced to drug-and-alcohol-free probation and time in a rehabilitation center. But following the emergence this month of a video showing a teen reported to be Couch drinking at a party, authorities said they were trying to determine whether it was the 18-year-old known as the “affluenza” teen.
They’re also trying to determine where he is and are worried he may have left the country.
“With the wealth and the wherewithal that his family has, it’s going to be a tough assignment for us to find him,” Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service have joined the search for Couch, who is now considered a fugitive.
“If we [had] a top 10 wanted list today, he’s number one,” Anderson told ABC News.
In June 2013, Couch, then 16, was driving his friends on a two-lane road in Fort Worth when he crashed into a car on the side of the road, according to the Associated Press. Authorities said his blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit and that he had traces of Valium in his system.
He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and assault while intoxicated.
At trial, his psychologist said Couch suffered from “affluenza,” Eclaiming that his “profoundly dysfunctional” millionaire parents had bred his bad behavior.
“Instead of the golden rule, which was ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’ [Couch] was taught we have the gold, we make the rules at the Couch household,” Dr. G. Dick Miller testified in court, according to ABC News.
The teen’s light sentence evoked anger across the country.
The recent emergence of the party video put Couch back in the news – and high on the local sheriff’s most-wanted list.
“It’s one of those times when you hate to say ‘I told you so,’ but I told you so,” Anderson, the Tarrant County sheriff, told the Morning News. “I knew he was going to end up in more trouble.”
The sheriff has a message for Couch, according to CNN: “You can run, but you’re always going to be looking over your shoulder. We’re not going to give up. We’re going to come after you. We’re going to find you, wherever you are.”