Chief Manger Urges Residents to Contact Elected Officials to Support Noah’s Law and Additional DUI Bills

On the day that Montgomery County Officer Noah Leotta died, Chief Manger spoke to the media about Officer Leotta’s sacrifice. Chief Manger became impassioned when talking about the driver who was under the influence of alcohol when he killed Officer Leotta – the driver who had previously been arrested three times for driving under the influence (DUI) offenses.

This morning, the sitting Montgomery County Grand Jury indicted* Luis Gustavo Reluzco, age 47, of Rolling Meadow Way in Olney, for striking and killing Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta (Lee-ah-ta).  Reluzco has been indicted on the following charges: manslaughter by automobile and failure to make a lane change or slow to a reasonable or prudent speed upon approach of an emergency vehicle on a highway (commonly referred to as the “Move Over Law” – Maryland Transportation Article 21-405).  At approximately 1:05 p.m. today, Reluzco turned himself in at the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office; Reluzco was accompanied by his attorney.  Reluzco was transported to the Central Processing Unit.  Bond information is not available at this time.

(*N.B. An indictment is not a finding of guilt.  It is merely a formal charge until and if the defendant is found guilty in a future judicial proceeding.  All defendants are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law).

In honoring Noah’s sacrifice and in working to prevent impaired-driving tragedies in the future, Chief Manger is collaborating with various people and agencies to include the following:

  • Several legislators in Annapolis to strengthen the laws and penalties for drunk and impaired driving.  (Proposed bills are described below).
  • The Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office:
    • To ensure that prosecutors are in agreement that strong prosecutions are needed, especially for repeat DUI offenders.
    • On the development of a Court Watch program that involves volunteers who would observe court cases involving repeat DUI offenders and monitor judges’ sentencing decisions.
  • The Department of Corrections to ensure jail time is given to DUI offenders and that home detention is not an option.

The Chief is urging community members and state-wide law enforcement personnel to support his efforts to make changes to the laws that pertain to driving while impaired. Chief Manger stated, “I believe these changes are important and will make travel safer for everyone on Maryland roadways; these changes will save lives. I am asking that residents contact their delegates and senators and urge them to vote ‘YES’ on the following bills”:

Noah’s Law – Mandatory Interlock for all Persons Convicted of Driving While Under the Influence (DUI)

Delegate Kramer and Senator Raskin of Montgomery County have introduced legislation that will require interlock devices to be used by all drivers convicted of impaired driving. Presently under Maryland law, only persons who are convicted of DUI with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or more (.08 is the legal limit in Maryland) and repeat offenders are assigned interlocks by the Motor Vehicle Administration.

Enhanced Penalties for Offenses of Manslaughter by Motor Vehicle and Homicide by Motor Vehicle while DUI

The Chief is also asking the legislature to increase the penalties for anyone convicted of driving while impaired that results in a death of another person. Currently, the maximum penalty that a person faces for causing the death of another while operating a motor vehicle is ten years in jail. In Maryland, the maximum penalty for homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence is 5 years and is one of the lowest penalties in the nation. This legislation is the top priority for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and has been identified as important legislation by Advocates for Auto and Highway Safety.

Enhanced Penalties for Adults Who Host Underage Drinking Parties –Criminal Law – Providing Alcohol to Underage Drinkers

Delegate Fraser-Hildago has drafted legislation that adds a penalty of one-year maximum in jail and increases the already existing maximum fine amount from $2,500 to $5,000 for a first offense for providing alcohol to those who are underage. For a subsequent offense, the legislation would increase the existing maximum fine from $5,000 to $7,500 and add a penalty of a maximum of two years in jail.

Civil Action – Wrongful Selling or Furnishing Alcoholic Beverages (Dram Shop Laws)

Delegate Dumais has drafted legislation that would allow a victim’s family to seek civil action against an establishment and/or an individual who wrongfully sells or furnishes alcohol to a person. This law exists in several other states but does not exist in Maryland.

Additional Traffic-Related Laws Related to DUI that the Department Supports

Delegate Fraser-Hidalgo proposes enhancing the Negligent Driving law. Currently, a person who drives negligently and causes the death of another is issued a pre-payable traffic citation for negligent driving; the person never has to appear in court. This new legislation requires that a person who drives negligently and causes the death of another person to appear in court.

NoahsLaw

Suspect Indicted in Officer Noah Leotta’s Death; Press Conference Tomorrow

This morning, the sitting Montgomery County Grand Jury indicted* Luis Gustavo Reluzco, age 47, of Rolling Meadow Way in Olney, for striking and killing Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta.  Reluzco has been indicted on the following two charges: manslaughter by automobile and failure to make a lane change or slow to a reasonable or prudent speed upon approach of an emergency vehicle on a highway (commonly referred to as the “Move Over Law” – Maryland Transportation Article 21-405).

At approximately 1:05 p.m. today, Reluzco turned himself in at the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office; Reluzco was accompanied by his attorney.  Reluzco was transported to the Central Processing Unit.  Bond information is not available at this time.

Tomorrow, February 12 at 2:00 p.m., Chief Tom Manger and State’s Attorney John McCarthy will hold a press conference in the lobby of the Montgomery County Circuit Court Building (50 Maryland Avenue in Rockville) regarding the collision that led to Officer Noah Leotta’s death.  Chief Manger and State’s Attorney John McCarthy will brief members of the media and the public.  Mr. McCarthy will speak only about bond and indictment information and the court process.  Officer Noah Leotta’s parents, Richard Leotta and Marcia Goldman, will be in attendance and Mr. Leotta and other family members may speak.

No additional information regarding the collision or investigation will be released prior to the press conference.

*N.B. An indictment is not a finding of guilt.  It is merely a formal charge until and if the defendant is found guilty in a future judicial proceeding.  All defendants are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Public Information Office Information

Montgomery County Police Department – Public Information Office
Phone: 240-773-5030, press option 4 to speak with a Public Information Officer

Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office – Spokesperson Ramon Korionoff
Phone: 240-777-7397
Email: Ramon.Korionoff@montgomerycountymd.gov

 

Previous Press Releases:

Chief Manger Urges Residents to Contact Elected Officials to Support Noah’s Law and Additional DUI Bills

MEDIA ADVISORY: Chief Manger and Parents of Officer Noah Leotta to Speak on MADD’s Legislative Priority for Ignition Interlock Law

Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta – End of Watch: December 10, 2015

Officer Struck by Suspected DUI Driver; Remains in Critical Condition

 

Reluzco

Luis Gustavo Reluzco

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Police Investigate Serious Pedestrian Collision in Damascus

MCPSealBestDetectives from the Montgomery County Police Department – Collision Reconstruction Unit continue to investigate a serious collision involving a pedestrian that occurred last evening in Damascus.

On February 9 at approximately 6:35 p.m., 5th District officers and Fire & Rescue personnel responded to the area of Ridge Road and Hoffman Drive for a pedestrian that had been struck by a vehicle.

The preliminary investigation revealed that a State Highway work crew was unloading a disabled highway truck on the northbound shoulder of Ridge Road. A State Highway employee walked to the southbound shoulder of Ridge Road when, for reasons that remain under investigation, he was struck by a blue, 2013 Toyota RAV4 which was traveling southbound on Ridge Road.

The pedestrian, identified as Henry Lewis Johnson, age 61, of the 4900 block of Pintail Court in Frederick was transported to an area hospital and is currently listed in critical condition.

The driver of the Toyota was identified as David Ray Kepley, age 56, of the 11800 block of Skylark Road in Clarksburg.

Police are urging anyone with information regarding this collision to contact the Collision Reconstruction Unit at 240-773-6620. Callers may remain anonymous.

RLG

MEDIA ADVISORY: Chief Manger and Parents of Officer Noah Leotta to Speak on MADD’s Legislative Priority for Ignition Interlock Law

MCPSealBestABOUT:
Chief Manger, the parents of Officer Noah Leotta, and Colleen Sheehey-Church, MADD National President, will speak on issues regarding MADD’s efforts to strengthen the ignition interlock laws in Maryland.

WHEN:
Tomorrow: – Wednesday, February 10 at 12:15 p.m.

WHERE:
Joint Hearing Room
Department of Legislative Services Building
90 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401

Madd will be broadcasting live on Periscope. Watch for the event on Twitter @maddonline.

Members of the media are encouraged to attend this event. For questions, contact Becky Iannotta at 305-305-6756 or becky.iannotta@madd.org or Bill Bronrott at 202-270-4415. Learn more at www.madd.org or by calling 1-877-ASK-MADD

RLG

Update: Active Search for Missing Woman with Alzheimer’s

Nancy Eillen Strohmeyer

Nancy Eillen Strohmeyer

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department – Major Crimes Division continue to ask for the public’s help to locate a missing 66-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s.

Nancy Eillen Strohmeyer of the 13100 block of Millhaven Place in Germantown last had contact with a family member via phone on Wednesday, February 3 at approximately 7:00 p.m. and has not been seen or heard from since that time. Strohmeyer is without her medication and police and family are concerned for her welfare.

Today at 2:00 p.m., officers will conduct a search of the wooded area near her residence. There is no foul play suspected in this missing person case.

Strohmeyer is described as a white female, 5′ 7″ tall, and weighing approximately 130 pounds. She has shoulder-length blonde hair and may currently be wearing a tan coat over a turquoise sweatshirt.

Anyone with information regarding her whereabouts is asked to contact the Montgomery County Police Department at 301-279-8000.

RLG