'Affluenza' defense gets Ethan Couch no prison time in fatal crash

Ethan Couch's defense argued that he had 'affluenza,' meaning he thought wealth helped him escape problems. Photo: WFAA

(WFAA/CNN) - Outrage nationwide continues to grow after a 16-year-old Texas teenager was spared prison time after killing four people in a drunk driving crash, citing "affluenza" as the reason he was given rehab and probation instead.

A Texas judge sentenced Ethan Couch to alcohol treatment and 10 years of probation for causing the crash
, during which his blood alcohol level was found to be 0.24.

His defense lawyers cited "affluenza" - a lifestyle where wealth bough privilege and there were no consequences for bad behavior - as a reason why Couch got behind the wheel of his pickup truck, sped down the road drunk and crashed.

In a series of notes taken during the trial by Eric Boyles, an attorney who lost his wife and daughter in the crash, Couch was caught fleeing the scene of the crash on foot. He could be heard at the scene yelling to one of this truck's passengers, "I'm Ethan Couch - I'll get you out of this."

Two people who were riding in the bed of Couch's truck were among the nine injured in the crash. One of them, Sergio Molina, was rendered comatose after the crash and is now paralyzed. His parents are now suing the teen, his parents and their family business - Cleburne Metal Works - for $20 million.

In their complaint, the Molinas point out that Couch had a history of arrests, including one where he pleaded no contest to charges of possessing and drinking alcohol. The court date for that plea took place just three months before the fatal crash.