Russian skater accused of stealing car, drunk driving

NEW YORK Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:59pm EST

Andrei Lutai of Russia performs during the men's free skating program at the European Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki January 22, 2009. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor (FINLAND)

Andrei Lutai of Russia performs during the men's free skating program at the European Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki January 22, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Grigory Dukor (FINLAND)

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Russian figure skater Andrei Lutai has been arrested and jailed for stealing a car and driving drunk, police said on Tuesday, after he finished 10th in a skating competition in upstate New York.

Lutai, 23, who finished 9th in the figure skating world championships in March, was stopped by police about 11 p.m. on Sunday in Lake Placid, New York, about 290 miles north of New York City. He had been in Lake Placid for a Skate America competition.

"The defendant was stopped operating a vehicle that had been reported stolen earlier in the evening," said Lake Placid Assistant Police Chief William Moore. "The defendant was found to be driving while intoxicated."

He said the vehicle Lutai is accused of taking had been parked behind a service station.

Lutai, from St Petersburg, is charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and aggravated driving while intoxicated, said Moore. He is being held in county jail on $100,000 bail.

Brian Barrett, Lutai's lawyer, said the skater will reappear in court on Wednesday. "Mr Lutai enjoys a lawful presumption of innocence," Barrett said.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols, editing by Philip Barbara)

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