| Crime |

Affluenza Mom Tonya Couch Stays Out of Jail on Bail Violation Charge

Tonya Couch, just after her 2016 arrest.
Tonya Couch, just after her 2016 arrest.
Tarrant County
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Tonya Couch managed to stay out of jail Thursday morning.

The mother of Ethan Couch, the teen who got 10 years probation for killing four people in a drunken-driving crash in 2013, is awaiting trial for helping her son flee to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The two headed south of the border after video surfaced of the younger Couch playing beer pong in late 2015, spurring fears that his probation would be revoked. Mother and son were eventually captured in Puerto Vallarta after police tracked a cellphone the two had used to order pizza from a local Domino's. After their return to Tarrant County, Ethan Couch received a 720-day jail sentence as a condition of transferring to the adult probation system. Prosecutors charged Tonya Couch with money laundering and helping her son flee.

Earlier this month, prosecutors filed a motion seeking to have Tonya Couch's $75,000 bond revoked, alleging that she'd consumed alcohol June 16, violating the conditions of her bail. This week, prosecutors tacked on an additional allegation, claiming that Couch was seen with a gun at a gun show at Fort Worth's Will Rogers Memorial Center over the weekend.

According to tweets from reporters in the Fort Worth courtroom, prosecutors called two witnesses at this morning's hearing. The first, Alys Dill, the assistant general manager of Eagle's Nest Sports Bar in Fort Worth, said that she witnessed Couch taking a sip from a beer at the bar. Couch is forbidden from consuming drugs or alcohol as a condition of her release before trial. 

The next witness, Johnson County Commissioner Jerry Stringer, testified that he'd seen Couch handling a rifle at the weekend gun show. Couch is not allowed to handle firearms while out on bail.

Despite Dill's and Stringer's testimonies, Judge Wayne Salvant did not revoke Couch's bail. Instead, he tightened her bail conditions: She is no longer allowed to possess alcohol in addition to being forbidden from drinking it, and she must meet with Tarrant County probation officers once per week. Salvant urged Couch to exercise better judgment.

"The eyes of Texas are upon you," he said.

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