Couch Pleads Guilty to Deadly Huntington DUI Crash

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man charged with killing a woman in a DUI crash that happened on 5th Street Hill in Huntington has pleaded guilty to all the charges against him.

During a hearing Friday morning, Michael Couch, 43, of Huntington, pleaded guilty to DUI causing death, third offense driving under the influence of alcohol and third offense driving on a suspended/revoked license because of DUI convictions.

Investigators say on March 17, Couch crossed the center line on 5th Street Hill, hitting Deborah Rakes' car head-on. Rakes, 52, died from her injuries.

“I was shaking. My heart was racing. I felt anger, hurt, pain just knowing he took my mom from me. He didn't look at me but I could just see in his eyes, like, he knew what he did. It was more like a pain for me to finally be able to see him and know that it's real. I felt like I was going to pass out just from seeing him because it was so real. It wasn't the best day, best feeling that I've had in a while," said Rakes’ daughter Madison.

Couch will be sentenced next month. He faces 2-10 years on the driving under influence and causing death, 2-10yrs on the DUI charge, and 1-3 years for driving on suspended license.

"I might fight to get the laws changed, if that's possible. I'll contact the Governor. I'll straight go to him. I want to get the laws changed and I want to get them fast because I don't want this to happen to anybody else. It's not something you want to go through. It's the biggest pain possibly anybody could ever bear," said Madison Rakes.

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