Homicide Charges Filed
Two die, including an 11–year–old boy, in head–on collision
By Patrick Yost
A 27–year–old South Carolina man faces multiple vehicular homicide charges following a Saturday wreck that killed an 11–year–old boy and a 72–year–old woman.
Jacob Wayne Steen Jr., Camden, S.C., has been served with warrants charging him with two counts of homicide by vehicle, drugs to be kept in original container, possession of dangerous drugs, failure to maintain lane, DUI and driving on the wrong side of the road, according to Madison Post 8 Georgia State Patrol Commander SFC Jim Foskey.
Foskey said troopers are awaiting the results of a blood test from Steen to determine if the homicide by vehicle charges will be first degree (a felony) or second degree (a misdemeanor). Reports indicate that Steen refused a blood test at the scene of the accident, but troopers requested and received a search warrant that allowed medical personnel to take a blood sample.
Foskey said the search warrant was obtained because troopers found prescription drugs in an unmarked container in Steen’s 2004 Chevrolet Suburban. Authorities are attempting to determine if a mix of alcohol and the prescription drugs may have contributed to the accident, Foskey said.
Under Georgia law, authorities can charge a driver involved in a fatal accident with a felony grade homicide by vehicle charge if officers can prove that the driver passed a school bus, was involved in a hit–and–run, was charged with reckless driving, fled or attempted to elude authorities, drove while a habitual violator or was driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. If convicted of a felony grade homicide by vehicle charge, penalties range from serving three to 15 years in prison, Georgia code says.
Foskey said authorities allege Steen’s vehicle crossed the centerline of U.S. 441 approximately one–half mile south of the intersection of U.S. 441 and Seven Islands Road and collided head–on with a 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis traveling south. The accident occurred at approximately 8:29 a.m., Foskey said.
Steen was not injured in the crash, nor was Misty Kirby, 31, a Royston woman driving the Mercury Marquis. But Ruby Brown, 72, Kirby’s mother, and Kirby’s nephew, David Kloes, 11, both were trapped in the vehicle and perished.
Robert Kloes, 6, sustained injuries in the wreck and was life–flighted to Atlanta Medical Center. Foskey said authorities believe that Steen’s vehicle drifted into the southbound lane of Kirby’s vehicle.
Traffic in both directions of U.S. Highway 441 was delayed for several hours while emergency workers attempted to extricate David Kloes and Brown. Brown was in the front passenger seat of the Marquis and David Kloes was in the rear passenger seat, behind Brown.
Steen was released on Monday from the Morgan County Detention Center after posting a $32,500 bond.