A man suspected in a theft at a Walmart in Pennsylvania crashed his SUV, then stepped over his dying 2-year-old son’s body as he fled the scene, police said.
Christopher Kuhn, 27, of Hamilton, New Jersey, was arraigned Tuesday night and charged with third-degree murder, homicide by vehicle, accidents involving death or injury while not properly licensed, retail theft, endangering the welfare of children, recklessly endangering another person, reckless driving, driving on a suspended license and running a red light, WCAU reported.
“Here we had a simple retail theft where we would have answered to some charges turned into a fatality,” Tullytown police Chief Daniel Doyle told WCAU. “It's tragic.”
According to police, Kuhn allegedly put a $228 sound bar into his cart at the Walmart located at the Levittown Town Center. He then left the store without attempting to pay, police said.
According to a probable cause affidavit, security personnel tried to detain Kuhn — who had his son, Qaden Trievel, in the cart — but he said "you can't hold me here" and left. Security officers then called the Tullytown police, WCAU reported.
A witness told police that Kuhn let the boy climb into the SUV while he covered its license plate with a sweater, WCAU reported.
Kuhn then drove away and ran a red light, crashing into two vehicles, investigators said. The impact of the crash caused the SUV to roll several times, and the boy was thrown from the vehicle, investigators said.
According to the affidavit, Kuhn fled the crash on foot, pausing to look at his son on the roadway.
“The suspect then stepped over the child who was laying in the roadway and fled the scene," Doyle said. “Officers apprehended him a short distance from the crash.”
Officers performed CPR on the unresponsive boy, WCAU reported. Qaden was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. No one else was hurt in the crash, police said.
In a Facebook post, Qaden's mother, Kenzy Trievel, shared her grief:
“He saved my life and I wish I could have saved his I would give anything to hold him again,” she wrote Wednesday.
Bucks County Deputy District Attorney Robert James told WCAU that Kuhn was uncooperative when he was taken into custody and would not reveal whether or not the boy was his son. Investigators later confirmed however that Kuhn was the child's father.
Kuhn’s preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 10. His bail is set at $5 million.
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