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ATV accident claims the life of local teen

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By Cindy DiFazio

Staff writer/photographer

On Monday, March 23, an ATV accident claimed the life of 19 year-old Gabriel "Gabe" Couch and injured his 13 year-old nephew Ronald "Ronnie" Wayne.

Couch's sister Melissa Couch-Wayne said her brother and son were riding on Six Mile Creek Road when the accident happened. She said they were going too fast to take a curve in the road. Couch hit a pothole which propelled the vehicle across the road where it hit a tree. Neither rider was wearing a helmet.

Couch-Wayne said Wayne was thrown into a field and knocked unconscious. When he regained consciousness he went to his where his uncle lay and saw he was bleeding from his neck, face and mouth. "He did just what we taught him," she said. "He put pressure on the wounds."

Wayne quickly realized he had to go for help. "He took off his boots and ran almost two miles on the gravel road," Couch-Wayne said. Another motorist came upon the scene, picked Ronnie up and called 911.

Couch-Wayne said Wayne then returned to his uncle's side, where he stayed until help arrived. Emergency personnel arrived within five minutes and a helicopter flew Couch to Lexington’s University of Kentucky Hospital shortly thereafter.

Wayne was transported to Jewish Hospital in Shelbyville with minor injuries. Couch-Wayne said his jaw might be fractured and that the boy is sore and bruised. "He's hurting emotionally the most," she said.

Couch was the youngest child of Carl and Deana Couch.

He and his fiancée, Dollie Heady, lived with his parents in their home outside Pleasureville. Heady is pregnant with twins.

Couch worked as a farmer and loved the outdoors. "He loved farming, hunting, fishing, riding ATVs" Couch-Wayne said, "anything to do with being outdoors."

Couch-Wayne said her younger brother was an outgoing guy who loved his family and big family dinners. "We're a very close family," she said. "We're a family who loves to eat and he was our team leader."

Couch-Wayne said the family is devastated by his loss, but doing their best to support one another. She said it is particularly difficult for Wayne, and the family has reassured him he acted with great bravery.

"He did everything right," she said. "Gabe was his buddy."

E-mail us about this article at news@hclocal.com.