Adding Insult to Injury: Evil Richie Rich’s parents are paying a pittance for a slap on the wrist court appointed treatment.
The parents of a teen who was sentenced to 10 years probation for driving drunk and causing a wreck that killed four people were ordered by the court Friday to pay $1,170 a month for his rehab treatment — far less than the actual cost of his treatment.
Ethan Couch, who turned 17 Friday, is being treated at the North Texas State Hospital in Vernon, a state-owned in-patient mental health facility. His treatment began there Feb. 19.
The actual cost of his treatment is $715 per day, according to testimony on Friday.
State District Judge Jean Boyd had previously ordered that Couch’s parents, Fred and Tonya Couch, pay for his therapy. The hearing Friday morning, similar to a child support hearing, was necessary to formally set the amount that the couple must pay.
Debbie Spoonts, placement supervisor for Tarrant County Juvenile Services, testified that the state-run facility evaluated the couple and, based on a sliding scale, determined the amount that they should pay.
“The family respects the decision of the facility and of the court and will honor the payment system that the court has put in place,” Lance Evans, the attorney for Couch’s parents, said after the hearing.
Among those present at Friday’s hearing were Kevin and Alesia McConnell, whose 13-year-old son was among the injured in the crash, and Greg Coontz, the civil attorney for relatives of one of the four killed in the wreck, Brian Jennings.
When asked what he thought about the amount the Couch family was ordered to pay, Coontz told reporters that it was his understanding that it is the maximum amount on the facility’s sliding scale.
“As a taxpayer, I probably feel exactly like you do,” Coontz said. “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.”