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Trial of former councilman to get underway

  • Updated
  • 1 min to read
Gary Couch

Gary Couch

BY KATHY CRUZ

Senior Staff Writer

Jury selection will begin Monday for the trial of former Granbury City Councilman Gary Couch, who was charged with Boating While Intoxicated in September 2019 after Donald Zacharias Zimmerman, who was a passenger on his boat, went overboard and was later found dead.

The trial will begin Thursday in the courtroom of County Court-at-Law Judge Vincent Messina.

A first BWI offense is a Class B misdemeanor that carries the possibility of a $2,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail. 

Couch, 56 at the time of the incident, also faces a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Zimmerman's mother.

Couch served two terms on the City Council, ending his service in November 2018 after choosing not to seek a third term.

The incident happened late on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. Couch was piloting his pleasure boat with Zimmerman and two other men onboard.

According to Sheriff Roger Deeds, Couch called 911 about a possible drowning at 10:55 p.m. He and the other two passengers met officers on the shore in the Harbor Lakes neighborhood.

A warrant to test Couch’s blood for alcohol was signed by Messina at 12:58 a.m. after Couch refused a sobriety test. The former councilman was booked into the Hood County Jail at 2:46 a.m. after being taken to Lake Granbury Medical Center to have his blood drawn. He bonded out several hours later, according to records.

One of Couch’s passengers, Mitchell Lee Davis, was charged with public intoxication. He, too, was booked into jail.

The third man, who gave officers a New York address, was not charged, according to Lt. Russell Grizzard of the Granbury Police Department. The man’s name was not released at the time.

Zimmerman's body was found by search teams at about 1 p.m. the following Monday in the middle of Lake Granbury between Harbor Lakes and Ports O’ Call, according to authorities. The 45-year-old had a Dallas address and worked in real estate investments.

kcruz@hcnews.com | 817-579-1886