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Suspect pleads not guilty

Jun. 25, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- A man charged with drunken driving in a fatal accident from March 17 pleaded not guilty Monday afternoon in Cabell Circuit Court.

Michael Shane Couch's plea was entered on his behalf by court-appointed defense attorney John Laishley. Cabell Circuit Judge Paul T. Farrell set a cash-only bond at $250,000.

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 againsst 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.

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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