Port Royal burglary suspect also accused in deadly DUI case

achristnovich@beaufortgazette.comOctober 31, 2012 

A man arrested last week for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars in jewelry and collectibles from Laurel Hill Apartments also is accused of causing a deadly drunken driving accident in Charleston last year.

Steven Jason Kuehner, 32, was charged with felony driving under the influence after he allegedly hit 25-year-old Yury Babenko of Russia with his car in West Ashley on May 20, 2011, according to a report from the Charleston Police Department.

Babenko died of his injuries. Kuehner, who authorities say kept driving after striking Babenko, was pulled over by Charleston City Police officers later that night, the report said.

Kuehner posted $50,000 bond two days after his arrest, according to Charleston County court records.

At the time of his arrest by Port Royal Police on Oct. 25, Kuehner was working as a maintenance employee at Laurel Hill, a community for the elderly at 1640 Ribaut Road, according to Investigator Andre Massey

Officers connected Kuehner to reports of missing jewelry and collectibles by following a paper trail from area pawn shops, according to Massey.

Kuehner faces four felony second-degree burglary charges, and his bail was set at $50,000, according to the Beaufort County Detention Center. More charges could be coming because Port Royal Police still have unclaimed property, Massey said Wednesday.

The 9th Circuit Solicitor's Office -- which is prosecuting the DUI charge -- might extradite Kuehner to Charleston, Massey said, but it wasn't clear Wednesday whether that will happen.

Attempts Wednesday to reach the 9th Circuit Solicitor's Office for details on the terms of Kuehner's bond were unsuccessful.

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