Families Of Affluenza Teen's Victims Speak Out

by Melissa Cruz

Ethan Couch, the teenager who famously avoided jail time due to his apparent rich-boy disease "affluenza," was detained by Mexican authorities on Monday after being on the run for several weeks. After killing four people in a drunk driving crash in 2013, Couch was given a 10-year probation sentence and issued a court-mandated stint in rehab. But after a video surfaced earlier this month that showed the teen allegedly violating his probation by participating in a drunken game of beer pong, both Couch and his mother had been reported missing. The reactions from the families of Couch's victims, however, indicate that nothing the teen does really surprises them anymore.

Kevin McConnell, a father of one of the victims that was killed in the drunk driving crash, told CNN he believes that Couch ran because he "[doesn't] think there's been any accountability for Ethan." By using his wealth as an essential Get Out of Jail Free card, Couch did not have to face any of the accountability someone of lesser means would. McConnell spoke of this injustice in an interview with CNN:

The scales [of justice] represent balance: There should be no entitling one way or the other, based on who you are or where you're from.

Still, McConnell was at least somewhat hopeful of the fate of the affluenza teen, saying: "I think that punishment and correction might save his life, might turn him around."

One of the seven passengers in Couch's car the night of the crash, who all remained unharmed, spoke to The Daily Beast at the request of anonymity. She said of that night, as well as Couch's repeated appearances in the media: "Whenever I see this on the news I just think about the mess we've made ... just to go into a party that lasted 15 minutes and ruined someone's life."

She added that she doesn't understand Couch's pattern of behavior. While she exhibited remorse and hoped to put the tragedy behind her, she said Couch appeared to continue to seek out the same harmful behavior that landed him in his position to begin with:

I don't know why he keeps getting into trouble when he's on 10 years' probation. He knows he can lose that at any minute, and he just goes and has fun.

If Couch is deemed in violation of his probation, he could serve up to 10 years in jail, not to mention any additional time for other charges he may have racked up while on the run. Hopefully, his path of destruction has come to an end, and his victims will be granted a kind of peace.