A father accused of hosting a drinking party that led to the deaths of two recent high school graduates in Maryland this summer was fined Thursday for allowing underage drinking in his home.
Kenneth Saltzman paid $5,000 on Thursday for furnishing alcohol to minors at a party attended June 25 by students and recent graduates of Wootton High School. He did not contest the two citations, each for $2,500.
Alexander Murk and Calvin Jia-Xing Li, both 18, died after driver Samuel Ellis, 19, lost control of his car on Dufief Mill Road in North Potomac, Maryland. The young men and a 16-year-old boy had just left the party at the Saltzman home, where police said they had been drinking.
Murk and Li were pronounced dead at the scene, and their 16-year-old friend suffered a serious spinal injury. Ellis was found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.07 to 0.09, well above the legal limit of 0.02 for Maryland drivers younger than 21, The Washington Post reported.
Murk's parents attended Saltzman's court appearance Thursday at the District Court in Rockville, WUSA 9 reported.
“I just can’t believe you can walk in and write a $5,000 check, and I’m never getting my son back,” Pamela Murk said, according to the station.
Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy told News4 last month that the $2,500 fine for each citation against Saltzman is the maximum punishment allowed by law and he would like to see more.
"The legislature needs to act down in Annapolis to add a criminal sanction which includes not just a fine, but the possibility of incarceration to people who furnish alcohol to young people," he said.
The 19-year-old driver -- who was driving so fast the car broke into pieces when it flipped -- was charged in his friends' deaths and turned himself in to police last month. Ellis, a former high school quarterback, was indicted on two counts of vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol, two counts of manslaughter by motor vehicle and one count of causing life-threatening injury by motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.