Father of Texas 'affluenza' teen arrested for impersonating police officer

DALLAS Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:01am EDT

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DALLAS (Reuters) - The father of the Texas teenager who killed four people while driving drunk and claimed his family's wealth was partially to blame has been arrested for impersonating a police officer, legal documents showed.

Frederick Anthony Couch was arrested on Tuesday for an incident that occurred on July 28 in the Fort Worth suburb of North Richland Hills.

Couch is the father the then 16-year-old boy who was sentenced to probation for the deadly accident after his lawyers argued the enormous wealth of the youth's family blinded him to responsibilities resulting from his actions. An expert witness for the defense described the boy's condition as "affluenza."

The American Psychiatric Association does not recognize "affluenza" as a diagnosis. The probation given to the teen sparked outrage, with social critics saying it indicated a more lenient court system for the wealthy.

Police said in a statement that officers encountered Couch during a disturbance call. Couch identified himself as a reserve officer with a police department in another Fort Worth area community.

“Couch reached into his vehicle and took out his wallet displaying what appeared to be a police badge and identification card, suggesting he was a police officer,” the statement said.

Officers at the scene later determined that Couch was not a police officer and never has been licensed as a police officer in Texas, the statement said.

Police offered no further details on the incident and lawyers for Couch were not immediately available for comment. Couch was released from jail on $2,500 bail.

The Couch family has settled for undisclosed sums with the families of the four victims who died in the June 2013 wreck.

(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Bill Trott)

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