BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Maryland restaurant charged with serving alcohol to the drunk driver who fatally struck a Montgomery County Police officer will shut its doors instead of fighting to keep its liquor license.
The family of Officer Noah Leotta has been fighting for the Hooters location in Rockville to be held accountable ever since back in December when Leotta died a week after he was hit while on DUI patrol in Gaithersburg.READ MORE: Walk To End Alzheimer's Saturday In Cockeysville Aims to Raise Awareness
Behind the wheel was 47-year-old Luis Reluzco, who had been arrested twice before for driving under the influence. Investigators said Reluzco had been drinking at the Hooters for four hours ahead of the crash.
“You know that person had been there for four-to-five hours drinking,” said Richard Leotta, Noah’s father. “We know that at least from the liquor tab…ten drinks!”
The Board of License Commissioners later cited the restaurant with sale to an intoxicated person. The liquor board was set to decide next week whether to revoke the restaurant’s license.
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Instead, the restaurant agreed Monday to forfeit that license and permanently shut its doors in November. In a statement, an attorney representing the restaurant wrote, “Hooters is deeply saddened by the loss of Officer Leotta, and will continue to work diligently to prevent such a loss in the future.”
“They are culpable and an accomplice in the murder of my son,” Leotta told WJZ’s Meghan McCorkell. “They need to pay a price for that.”
Leotta said he hopes the closure of the restaurant will send a strong message to other businesses about accountability. But he said he will continue pushing for stricter regulations. Back in May, Gov. Larry Hogan signed Noah’s Law, which mandates the installation of ignition interlock devices in the cars of all people found driving while intoxicated.
“I’m going to be fighting this battle ’til my last breath to honor my son in every way that I can,” said Leotta.
Reluzco, who has pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter, faces up to ten years behind bars when he is sentenced next month.MORE NEWS: 18-Year-Old Morgan State Student Shot On Campus Saturday