Ethan Couch, the Texas teenager wanted for a fatal drunken-driving wreck, and his mother won a delay on Wednesday December 30th to their extradition from Mexico after fleeing there as U.S. authorities investigated a possible violation of a probation deal that has kept the youth out of prison over a fatal drunken-driving crash.
Ethan Couch, who is from a wealthy family, became known in the United States as the “affluenza” teen during his trial over the 2013 crash that killed four people.
Couch, 18, and his mother, 48-year-old Tonya Couch, were captured in the Mexican Pacific Coast city of Puerto Vallarta on Monday December 28th and had been due to be flown back to Houston on Wednesday, accompanied by U.S. Marshals.
But the two filed an injunction to delay their extradition from Mexico and would not be leaving on Wednesday, said Ricardo Vera, a Mexican migration official in the state of Jalisco.
A judge in Mexico would have up to 72 hours to consider the injunction, and the pair could still be deported within two weeks depending on developments, Vera said.
A U.S. Marshals Service spokeswoman said the Couches could not be deported until legal matters were resolved.
“We simply do not know when the Ethan and Tonya Couch will be returned to the U.S.,” said Laura Vega, a spokeswoman with the service in Dallas.
During Ethan Couch’s trial in juvenile court, a psychologist testifying on his behalf said the teenager was afflicted with “affluenza,” a condition where he was so spoiled by his wealth that he could not tell the difference between right and wrong.
The diagnosis is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association and the term was widely ridiculed at the time. Couch was convicted on four counts of intoxication manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years of drink and drug-free probation, which critics saw as leniency shown because of his family’s wealth. His escape to Mexico rekindled anger over the sentence.
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