UPDATE: Snowmobile in fatal Clark County crash was stolen - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Snowmobile in fatal Clark County crash was stolen


Clark County (WQOW) -- The snowmobile used in a crash that killed a 34-year-old Loyal man 10 days ago was stolen, according to a criminal complaint.

Steven Lauenstein, 46, also of Loyal, is charged with two felonies - operating a motor vehicle without the owner's consent and homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle - in the early-morning crash that killed Robert Kurz.

Lauenstein made his first court appearance Wednesday but did not have an attorney and it was adjourned until March 16, court records indicate. He remains in jail on a $7,500 cash bond.

Kurz, a passenger on the snowmobile Lauenstein was driving, was killed Feb. 12 when the 1998 Polaris rolled and struck some trees as the pair rode home from Spencer, the complaint said. Lauenstein was able to walk to a home and report the crash to authorities about 6:45 a.m.

The homeowner who helped Lauenstein said the snowmobiler "appeared to be out of it or stunned" and did not know for sure if someone else was with him, the complaint said.

Lauenstein told investigators that before the crash he and Kurz had been at the Little Club Bar near Spencer but he did not know what time he arrived, the complaint said. He said they had two or three drinks before leaving about 1:30 a.m.

A bartender told investigators the men spent about 2 1/2 hours at the bar and Lauenstein drank two "Winsor and coke doubles," the complaint said.

They rode home together because one of their snowmobiles wouldn't start, the complaint said.

As of Wednesday, according to the state Department of Natural Resources, 14 people have died in snowmobile crashes this winter. In eight of them, alcohol was listed as a factor with tests pending in five others.

Clark County (WQOW) - The man, who investigators believe was driving a snowmobile that crashed and killed his passenger, now faces homicide charges.

Steven Lauenstein, from Loyal, is charged with three counts, including homicide by intoxicated driving.

Clark County investigators said it appears his snowmobile was traveling at a high speed when it went out of control and rolled early Sunday morning. His passenger, Robert Kurz, was killed. According to the charges, the men had been drinking at a bar Saturday night. Lauenstein is due in court on Wednesday, Feb. 22. 

Clark County (WQOW) – On Sunday, the Clark County Sheriff's Office responded to a snowmobile accident near Catlin Avenue in the Township of Sherman.

Authorities said 46-year-old Steven D. Lauenstein, from Loyal, was driving his snowmobile, with his passenger, 34-year-old Robert N. Kurz, from Loyal. They said Lauenstein lost control of the snowmobile and entered into a wooded area. Police said the snowmobile rolled on top of Lauenstein.

Officials said Kurz was ejected from the snowmobile and died later at an area hospital from his injuries. Police said both Lauenstein and Kurz were wearing helmets. They said speed and alcohol are believed to be factors in the incident.

The Clark County Sheriff's Office and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are investigating the crash. Authorities said Sunday's accident is the second snowmobile fatality for Clark County in 2017.

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