Drunk Driver Who Killed Montgomery County Officer Sentenced to 10 Years | NBC4 Washington

Drunk Driver Who Killed Montgomery County Officer Sentenced to 10 Years

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Luis Reluzco, the drunk driver who pleaded guilty in the death of Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. News 4's Chris Gordon reports. (Published Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016)

    What to Know

    • Luis Gustavo Reluzco, 48, of Olney, agreed to the plea to vehicular manslaughter last month.

    • Noah Leotta, 24, was critically injured the evening of Dec. 3, 2015, after volunteering to work on a special holiday drunk-driving patrol.

    • Reluzco had at least three previous alcohol-related arrests, police said in February.

    The driver who police say struck and killed a Maryland police officer -- while driving with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit and with evidence of marijuana and Xanax in his system -- will spend the next decade in prison.

    Judge Ann Herrington sentenced Luis Gustavo Reluzco to 10 years in prison Thursday, the maximum allowed under law. Reluzco pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter in April.

    Noah Leotta, 24, was critically injured the evening of Dec. 3, 2015, after volunteering to work on a special holiday drunk-driving patrol. He had stopped a suspected drunken driver at Rockville Pike and Edmonston Drive in Rockville, Maryland, and was outside his cruiser when Reluzco smashed into the police car and then struck him, police said.

    Leotta was rushed to a hospital but died on Dec. 10.

    Photo credit: Jay Alvey, NBC4

    "On Dec. 3, you made a conscious decision for personal pleasure, and you sentenced to death one of the brightest lights of the community," Herrington said.

    Reluzco had been indicted on charges of manslaughter by automobile and failing to move over for an emergency vehicle. The "move over" charge was dropped in the plea agreement, court documents quoted by the Washington Post indicated.

    Reluzco had at least three previous alcohol-related arrests, police said in February.

    Reluzco admitted drinking beer and bourbon for about three hours Dec. 3, police said.

    Moments after getting behind the wheel, Reluzco slammed into Leotta and sideswiped his police car before coming to a stop, never realizing he hit the officer, investigators said.

    "You have offered to help MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) as a spokesperson. You have a future. You will return to your family with a new purpose," Herrington said. "The Leotta family has a very different future. They won't be able to joyously plan Thanksgiving."

    In court, Reluzco apologized to the Leotta family saying 
    "I'm eternally sorry for what I've done. There's no sentence that would be enough for your son's life."
    In court, Reluzco apologized to the Leotta family saying, "I'm eternally sorry for what I've done. There's no sentence that would be enough for your son's life."

    Leotta's father, Rich Leotta, spoke with Reluzco's family moments after the sentencing.

    "They expressed their condolences and I expressed my sorrow for what they were going through. Nobody wins in this," Rich Leotta said.

    The tragedy turned Leotta's family into activists, who campaigned for stronger punishment of drunk drivers in Maryland. Their campaign succeeded earlier this month, when "Noah's Law" went into effect in Maryland.