Seeking justice for four people killed in a drunk driving accident, nonprofit advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has started a petition urging the justice system to try “affluenza” teen Ethan Couch as an adult ahead of a Jan. 19 hearing.
The petition, titled #FightAffluenza, argues that Couch’s actions are too egregious for juvenile court.
COUCH IS NO CHILD. HIS ACTIONS ARE NOT THAT OF A CHILD.
The nation has watched with anger and disdain as Couch continues to show blatant disregard for the law. The families impacted will never have their loved ones back. Couch must be treated like the adult he is.
The petition met its goal of 30,000 signatures in just 24 hours. MADD is hoping to double that figure before Couch’s transfer hearing begins next Tuesday. The hearing would, in part, decide whether Couch should be charged in adult or juvenile court for his escape attempt late last year.
In 2013, Couch was driving his Ford F-350 truck with a blood-alcohol level of .24 — three times the legal limit — when he plowed into a group of vehicles parked on the side of the road, killing four people.
However, Couch escaped prison time when his defense argued he suffered from “affluenza,” and that because he grew up so privileged that he did not have the capacity to bear responsibility. He was sentenced to 10 years probation and a stint in rehab.
In December, Couch and his mother fled the country when a video posted to social media showed him drinking beer — a direct violation of his probation. They were captured later that month in the resort town of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Couch’s mother was also arrested and charged with hindering the apprehension of a felon. She was recently released on $75,000 bail.
To sign the petition, click here.
Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.