BALTIMORE (WJZ)– It’s been nearly a year since police officer Noah Leotta was killed by a drunk driver in Maryland. The tragedy sparked a new law in the state and Tuesday the governor honored Leotta in a special way.
The 24-year-old Montgomery County officer was killed in the line of duty while conducting a DUI checkpoint on December 3, 2015. A tragedy many will never forget, but a legacy that’s just getting started.
It was an accident that tore at hearts across the state.
“My son was murdered by an irresponsible, reckless individual,” Rich Leotta, Noah’s dad.
Governor Larry Hogan and many others are doing everything they can to make sure Noah’s legacy lives on.
“Noah was a hero,” Hogan said.
In a terrible twist of fate, a DUI checkpoint quickly turns to tragedy in Rockville when Leotta is smashed into by a drunk driver.
Police say the suspect had been drinking at Hooters for hours before he got in the car, and eventually struck Leotta.
Police say the driver, 47-year-old Luis Reluzco, had several previous alcohol-related arrests.
The accident sparked outrage and eventually led to Noah’s law being signed in Maryland, which will soon require breath testing ignition devices for anyone convicted of drunk driving.
“We can’t bring noah back but we can make a difference and make sure others don’t suffer what we have,” said Rich Leotta.
On Tuesday, a portion of Maryland route 97 in the Olney area was named after Noah. Drawing special praise from Governor Hogan and other elected officials.
A legacy for the 24-year-old officer that will carry on forever. Noah’s law goes into effect on October 1st.
The driver who hit Leotta pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter and faces up to 10 years in prison.