Ethan Couch

(P1) Texas officials are convinced that Ethan Couch, the teen who killed four people in a DRUNKEN-DRIVING incident in 2013, FLED the country with the help of his mother.

(P2) Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson described in a PRESS CONFERENCE Tuesday how Couch left the country and possibly VIOLATED his PROBATION.

(P3) Anderson said Couch and his mother Tonya Couch drove their PICKUP TRUCK across the border into Mexico. Anderson called it a planned escape.

(P4) Anderson said that authorities learned from an interview with an UNIDENTIFIED SOURCE that there was “a GOING AWAY PARTY” for the mother and son before they left town.

(P5) Anderson said that this confirmed “what we had suspected all along” — that Couch and his mother were actively trying to avoid authorities.

(P6) Couch was picked up in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on Monday at 6 p.m. local time along with his mother. According to Anderson, the Couches are still in the CUSTODY of Mexican authorities and will be returning to the U.S. “shortly.”

(P7) Tonya Couch is expected to face charges which could carry a SENTENCE of between two and 10 years BEHIND BARS.

(P8) Ethan Couch already has a HEARING scheduled on Jan. 19 to allow him to be treated as an adult rather than a JUVENILE. Even if he is transferred to an adult court, however, the maximum amount of time that he will spend in jail is 120 days. He will then probably have to wear a TRACKING DEVICE for the REMAINDER of his original 10-year probation period.

(P9) Couch, who was 16 when the accident occurred, was originally convicted of four counts of MANSLAUGHTER but was not sentenced to any jail time; instead, he was given 10 years’ probation — a punishment considered a mere SLAP ON THE WRIST by critics, and one that OUTRAGED the victims’ families.

(P10) Couch’s BLOOD ALCOHOL LEVEL at the time of the accident was 0.24, three times the legal limit. The beer he drank had been stolen from a local liquor store. While speeding, he hit and killed four people and injured nine others.

(P11) Couch and both of his wealthy parents had had previous RUN-INS with legal authorities.

(P12) Couch’s legal defense team, which included PSYCHOLOGIST Dr. G. Dick Miller, argued that the teen suffered from “affluenza” (AFFLUENCE plus INFLUENZA), meaning his IRRESPONSIBLE behavior and lifestyle were a product of his wealthy UPBRINGING and his DYSFUNCTIONAL parents, who set no limits for his behavior.

(P13) Part of Couch’s probation MANDATES that he not drink alcohol for 10 years, but photos of him appearing to drink have SURFACED on social media.

WORDS: 428



If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Stories like this happen everywhere in the world. Have there been any incidents in your country involving wealthy teenagers or young adults behaving badly?
  3. How is growing up in a wealthy family different than growing up in a financially average family? What are the positives and negatives?
  4. What do you think should happen now to Ethan and Tonya Couch?
  5. Are the laws against drunken driving in your country very strong?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Drunken driving
  • Press conference
  • Pickup truck
  • Unidentified source
  • Going away party
  • Behind bars
  • Tracking device
  • Slap on the wrist
  • Blood alcohol level
  • Run-in

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