By John Balch
A Murfreesboro man remains in critical condition in a Hot Springs hospital and his teenage son is being charged as an adult after an incident early Friday morning on Muddy Fork Road, according to Pike County Investigator Glen Hankins.
Cullie Edward “Eddie” Couch, 52, suffered a serious leg wound and a head injury when he was crushed between two vehicles, one allegedly driven by his 17-year-old son, Justin Hunter Couch.
The juvenile made a first appearance Monday in Pike County Circuit Court where Judge Tom Cooper set the teen’s bail at $100,000. He was officially charged as an adult Tuesday, June 28 with felony aggravated assault and first-degree battery.
Hankins said the incident was reported around 3:30 a.m. Friday, June 24. The teen’s mother had called 911 and said there had been an accident at the Couch home at 1840 Muddy Fork Road and that her son had ran over her husband. Pike County Deputy Travis Hill and emergency personnel responded to the call and Hankins was later called to the scene.
Hankins later determined that an argument between the father and son had led to a Ford Explorer running into the father, pinning him into between another vehicle and pushing the vehicle back approximately eight feet before it was stopped by the family’s mobile home. The elder Couch, whose leg was nearly amputated in the incident, was transported to a Hot Springs hospital where his injured leg was surgically removed and he later suffered several other serious complications, including a stroke and paralysis to one side of his body, according to court records.
During an interview, the younger Couch stated he and his dad had gotten into an argument because the dad reportedly would not give him a marijuana “joint.” The argument “got heated” while the son was behind the steering wheel of the Explorer and that the dad had apparently questioned the son’s manhood about whether he would run him over with the vehicle. The teen said the incident was an accident, according to court records.
Once the teen was read his rights, he declined to discuss the incident any more without an attorney present.
Hankins noted in court records that the incident is still under investigation.