The father of a Texas teen whose light sentence in a fatal drunk driving case caused outrage last year has been charged with allegedly impersonating a police officer.
Fred Couch was arrested Tuesday morning following an investigation by North Richland Hills police. The case stemmed from a July 28 incident at a residence where Couch allegedly identified himself to responders as a reserve officer with the Lakeside Police.
According to KDFW, one of the officers at the scene had worked for the Lakeside Police and didn't recognize Couch. The suspect also repeatedly put his hands in his pockets, which raised suspicion since such behavior is generally a cause for alarm with police.
Couch was allowed to leave the scene of the disturbance after he allegedly showed a badge and an identification card. Officers said they didn't recognize the badge and launched an investigation. They concluded that Couch was not with Lakeside PD and had never been a peace officer in Texas.
North Richland Hills police later contacted Couch about the incident. He reiterated that he'd had his "Lakeside police stuff" in his truck.
The suspect is the father of Ethan Couch, a teen who received 10 years probation in 2013 after he struck and killed four pedestrians while driving intoxicated.
At trial, an expert for the defense said the boy, who was 16 when the fatal wreck occurred, suffered from "affluenza," which he said affects children from wealthy families who have a sense of entitlement and make bad decisions.
G. Dick Miller, the psychologist who used the controversial term during the trial, said that the teen's parents should share blame for the crash, because they never set limits for their son.
Couch's light sentence caused massive outrage, leading Miller to eventually to regret that he used the term "affluenza."