UPDATE: Suspect in court after deadly DUI crash in Huntington - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Suspect in court after deadly DUI crash in Huntington

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UPDATE

The man charged with killing a woman because he was driving drunk was in court Friday morning. 

43-year-old Michael S. Couch sat by himself this morning as he waived his time period for a preliminary hearing. The magistrate told Couch he needed a court appointed attorney and to be back in court April 8. 

Couch remains in the Western Regional Jail. 

Police said he was driving drunk when his van crashed head on with the car of Deborah Rakes March 17, killing her. 

Court records also show Couch has a number of prior DUI convictions and he was driving on a revoked license for DUI.

 

 

 


 

UPDATE

Michael Couch was arrested Tuesday and charged with "DUI causing death".  This, after Couch had been cited for DUI, not once or twice but according to police, several times.

According to the CDC, it takes  an average of 80 times driving drunk before a driver receives their first citation and about one third of those cited become repeat offenders, which was exactly the case in Couch's most recent incident, which claimed the life of a Kenova woman.

Police say Couch already had several DUI convictions, when he climbed into his Caravan - again, under the influence - and crashed into the car Deborah Rakes was driving, killing her.

"There were a number of times back when I was still practicing drinking that I used to get behind the wheel of a car but for the grace of God, that didn't happen to me," said Ray, who wasn't comfortable sharing his last name but insisted on sharing his story.

"Once I picked up that first drink I couldn't stop," he said.

Now, after nearly 21 years of sobriety, Ray says he knows the thought process of an addict firsthand  and he says in order for the number of impaired drivers to fall, laws need to change. 

"After the first offence, if you go into a second offense, there is jail time automatic," Ray suggests.  "Third offense 5 to 10 years in prison, no ifs, ands or buts about it."

But even then, Ray believes the same loopholes would apply.

"Money talks," he said.  "They get them a good lawyer and they get out of it and that's the sad part about this. The only solution that I know of is for people to get honest with themselves and realize that they have a problem."

 


 

ORIGINAL STORY

Huntington Police arrested a man Tuesday, after a deadly crash on Sunday, March 17.

Michael Couch was injured in the crash and released from the hospital on Tuesday afternoon. That's when police arrested him and charged Couch with DUI causing death. His cash bond was set at $30,000.

According to a release sent to 13 News, Deborah L. Rakes, of Kenova, WV was hit head-on by a Dodge Caravan on Fifth Street Hill. The Dodge Caravan was driven by Michael Shane Couch, of Huntington.

Both drivers were pulled from their vehicles and transported to Cabell Huntington Hospital for treatment. Rakes died from her injuries.

Police say they obtained evidence indicating Couch was under the influence of alcohol. According to police, records also show Couch has a number of prior DUI convictions and he was driving on a revoked license for DUI.