October 25, 2014

Medina
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Accused bank robber, 71, too ill for trial

MEDINA — A judge on Friday ruled a 71-year-old Hinckley Township man is too ill to stand trial on charges he robbed a bank and led police on a high-speed chase in February.

Hugh G. Crouch appeared for the hearing in a wheelchair. Last week, prosecutors requested that Crouch make an appearance in court “for the formality of it.”

The family of accused bank robber Hugh Crouch pose around the sickly man in the Medina County Courthouse. Crouch, 71, was found incompetent to stand trial Friday because he's too sick even to communicate with his attorney. Pictured, from left, are his daughter Tia Crouch, Tia's boyfriend Curtis Vereb and Crouch's wife Carol. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY NICK GLUNT)

The family of accused bank robber Hugh Crouch pose around the sickly man in the Medina County Courthouse. Crouch, 71, was found incompetent to stand trial Friday because he’s too sick even to communicate with his attorney. Pictured, from left, are his daughter Tia Crouch, Tia’s boyfriend Curtis Vereb and Crouch’s wife Carol. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY NICK GLUNT)

Competency tests had been performed on Crouch as early as June. Psychologist Galit Askenazi said in October that Crouch suffered from severe dementia, liver disease and several other ailments, leaving him unresponsive. She said she did not expect Crouch to recover.

County Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler ruled Crouch incompetent on Friday, but added he wanted a medical doctor to confirm that Crouch will not recover.

“The court has no doubt Dr. Askenazi is sincere that he won’t be restored within one year,” Kimbler said, “but she is not a medical doctor.”

Kimbler ordered prosecutors and Crouch’s attorney, Bob Campbell, to submit treatment plans to the court in two weeks. He said a hearing would be held, but the family and Crouch need not attend.

Charges against Crouch included aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony; felonious assault, a second-degree felony; failure to obey a police officer, a third-degree felony; and possession of criminal tools, a fourth-degree felony. He faced more than 20 years in prison if convicted.

Police reported Crouch robbed almost $30,000 from Brunswick’s Huntington Bank in February and began a car chase in his pickup that ended in Montville Township after Crouch struck a police cruiser and fled on foot.

Crouch was furloughed from the county jail in June because of his deteriorating health and was placed on house arrest at his Ridge Road home so his daughter, nurse’s aide Tia Crouch, could care for him.

Carol Crouch, his wife, said Friday that conditions at the jail caused him to get sicker and she was upset it was such a drawn-out process to find her husband unfit.

“I wish it didn’t take so long,” she said.

Crouch’s attorney has said his client’s house arrest has been expensive and difficult for the family.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.