AP Photo/KDFW-FOX 4
Fred and Tonya Couch, whose son, Ethan, caused a 2013 Texas crash that killed four people, will not pay the full cost of Couch's court-ordered rehabilitation treatment.
Couch, who turned 17 on Friday, began treatment at the North Texas State Hospital in February. The state-owned, in-patient mental health facility's rehab costs $715 per day, but the court ordered Couch's parents to pay just $1,170 per month — less than two days' worth of treatment — based on a "sliding scale."
The case garnered nation-wide attention due largely to Couch's defense. Driving under the influence of alcohol and Valium, Couch veered off the road on June 15, smashing into a stalled SUV's driver and three other people at the scene. His attorneys argued the coddled teen suffered from "affluenza," and thus was not fully able to comprehend the repercussions of his reckless behavior. State District Judge Jean Boyd sentenced Couch to 10 years of probation and an in-patient rehabilitation program.
"As a taxpayer, I probably feel exactly like you do," Greg Coontz, a civil attorney for relatives of one of the four killed, told the Star-Telegram. "It seems like maybe that ought to be a little different and should be addressed if there's the ability to pay. Most time, I don't know that there is. Clearly, sometimes that ability is there."