Watch CBS News

Deputies called to home of "Affluenza" teen's dad

FORT WORTH, Texas --Police said they were called to the home of "affluenza teen" Ethan Couch's father on Friday to investigate claims that Fred Couch attacked his girlfriend, reports CBS DFW.

The woman allegedly said initially that she had been choked, but later declined to cooperate with investigators, according to Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson.

"(Deputies) did observe some red marks around her neck and she did say Mr. Couch had choked her during an altercation," Anderson said.

The woman refused to allow the deputies to take crime scene photographs and sped off in a car during questioning, according to Anderson.

Authorities did not charge or question Fred Couch, who left before the deputies arrived. His son, Ethan, gained notoriety for using an "affluenza" defense during his trial following a fatal drunken-driving wreck, arguing that his wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility.

Ethan Couch was sentenced in juvenile court in 2013 to 10 years on probation after four people were killed when a pickup truck he was driving swerved off the road and crashed.

Authorities said Ethan Couch and his mother Tonya fled the U.S. in December, as Texas prosecutors investigated whether he violated his probation. They were apprehended at a Mexican resort city and sent back to Texas. Ethan Couch is in county jail awaiting a Feb. 19 hearing to determine if he should be transferred to adult court, where he could be punished more severely. His mother is under house arrest on charges of hindering the apprehension of a felon.

Fred Couch has a history of legal run-ins, according to an AP review of police and court records found last month. In 1999, he was arrested for assault and eventually served a few days in jail and two years' probation. Police said Fred Couch punched a supervisor for a contracting firm that hired his roofing and construction company after the man told his workers to stop using an unsafe table saw.

He also faced allegations in 2009 that he sexually harassed a female employee and inappropriately touched her, according to court records. The case settled on undisclosed terms a year later.

In September 2014, Fred Couch was charged with falsely identifying himself as an officer for a suburban Fort Worth police department. He has a March 18 court hearing scheduled on that charge.

In November, police responded to a call from a woman who said she was Fred Couch's girlfriend and alleged that he had abused her.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.