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Bond reduction denied for suspect in fatal DUI

Jul. 27, 2013 @ 12:14 AM

HUNTINGTON -- The man charged with drunken driving in a March 17 fatal crash will remain behind bars.

Cabell Circuit Judge Paul T. Farrell on Thursday denied a bond reduction for Michael Shane Couch, according to court officials and defense attorney John Laishley. That means Couch's bond will remain at $250,000 cash only. The judge also set a tentative trial date of Nov. 5.

Couch, 43, of Prichard, was indicted in relation to the death of Deborah Lynn Rakes, 52. She died March 17 when Couch's van crossed the center line and crashed head-on into her car on 5th Street Hill in Huntington, according to the charges against Couch.

The indictment charges Couch with driving under the influence causing death, third-offense driving under the influence and third-offense driving under the influence because of DUI convictions. He pleaded not guilty last month.

State records indicate Couch hasn't had a valid driver's license since July 30, 1996. The March 17 crash marked his fifth drunken driving arrest since late 1997, four of which stemmed from vehicle accidents.

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