The S.C. state guardsman who was injured in a hit and run while volunteering at Harvest Hope Food Bank on Friday accepted an award from the Richland County Sheriff’s Office on Monday afternoon.
Robert Kuenzli, 68, from the Irmo area, suffered a broken bone in his wrist as well as other non-life-threatening injuries when he directing traffic and was struck by a driver who left the scene, Kuenzli said at the conference. The guardsman also serves as a school resource officer at the Center for Advanced Technical Studies in Chapin.
”Instinctively, I put my arm up,” Kuenzli said. “I guess I thought I was Superman and was going to stop him.”
Witnesses took down the driver’s tag number, helping the sheriff’s office track him down, according to Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott. Investigators also identified a spot on the driver’s vehicle where Kuenzli had dug in with his fingernails.
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Investigators charged Charles Kauffman, 71, with attempted murder and committing illegal acts during a state of emergency, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.
While recovering from his injuries, Kuenzli has continued to try to get back out on the job, the sheriff said. In honor of his service, and to keep him informed about what’s going on while he is house-bound, the sheriff’s office gave Kuenzli a radio of his own during the conference.
The sheriff also warned conference attendees about a scam going around with scammers pretending to be members of the National Guard.
”They’re going to water distribution places and saying they represent the National Guard and that they need to pick up water for the National Guard,” Lott said. “That is not true. These are scam artists. We’re currently investigating that and trying to put a stop to that.”
The scam artists turn around and sell the water, the sheriff said. If caught, the perpetrators face felony charges and up to 10 years in prison.