Charles Curtis Couch MUG

Charles Curtis Couch

A Spring Hill man accused of leading police on a car chase through Homosassa that ended with a head-on crash in early July did not show for court, prompting a judge to seek his arrest.

Circuit Court Judge Richard “Ric” Howard was expecting Charles Curtis Couch to appear Thursday afternoon to be arraigned on charges of aggravated fleeing and eluding police, leaving a crash scene involving injury and driving with an invalid license.

But Couch did not step into the courtroom, and Howard issued a warrant for the 38-year-old’s arrest for failing to appear, according to court records.

This will be the third known arrest warrant with Couch’s name on it. 

He’s wanted in Hernando County for failing to appear at two other, separate court hearings for failing to register as a sex offender and several felonies pertaining to fraud, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.

Couch did end up in police handcuffs on July 3 after his car, in an pursuit with police, collided with another car and its two passengers, Martin and Sheila Jacobs, in Homosassa.

Authorities with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Marshals Service were trying to pull Couch over on U.S. 19 near Grover Cleveland Boulevard for his Hernando County warrants, but Couch instead led police on a chase through Homosassa, at speeds of up to 70 mph.

Couch lost control of his car while traveling eastbound on Homosassa Trail, near the intersection with Pittsburgh Avenue, shortly before he collided with the Jacobs, who were both hospitalized.

Couch ran away from the crash, limping, and police caught him sitting at a picnic table roughly 100 yards away.

Martin Jacobs died July 15 at Ocala Regional Medical Center. He was 77. Sheila Jacobs, 75, was released from the hospital.

While he was being hospitalized under armed guard, Couch told police he knew they were looking for him and kept a firearm in the backseat of the Lincoln, according to an affidavit requesting a warrant to search the car.

Couch said his plan was to stop driving, grab the firearm and point it at deputies to force them to fire back, the affidavit shows.

According to the affidavit, Couch has eight felony convictions in Florida, making it illegal for him to possess a gun. 

However, the State Attorney’s Office has not charged Couch with possessing a firearm as a convicted felon because prosecutors haven’t been notified that a gun was recovered, according to Assistant State Attorney Blake Shore, who is prosecuting Couch.

Couch was released from custody several days after the crash, after posting bail on a total $44,000 bond for his warrant and pursuit charges, according to court records.

Anyone with information about Couch’s whereabouts can contact the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office at 352-754-6830. 

Tipsters can also remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward by calling Hernando County Crime Stoppers at 866-990-8477.

Contact Chronicle reporter Buster Thompson at 352-564-2916 or bthompson@chronicleonline.com.

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