A Montgomery County police officer is in critical condition after being hit by a suspected drunk driver as he conducted an anti-drunk driving enforcement.
Officer Noah Leotta, 24, was hit as he made a traffic stop about 9:45 p.m. Thursday at Rockville Pike and Edmonston Drive in Rockville, Maryland. Police said Leotta was outside his cruiser when Luis Gustavo Reluzco, 47, smashed into the police cruiser and then the officer.
Leotta, who will have been with the department three years next month, was rushed to a hospital with "major and significant trauma," Capt. Paul Starks said.
“Noah is not only a dedicated young police officer, he is a caring person who became a cop to serve the community where he grew up," Chief of Police Tom Manger said in a statement. "He needs everyone’s prayers as he fights for his life."
Leotta had volunteered to work Thursday night on a special holiday alcohol-enforcement patrol, Starks said.
"It is ironic that here he was trying to keep the community safe and the roads safe for everyone, yet he was struck by someone who is suspected of having alcohol or drugs in his system," the police captain said.
On Friday afternoon, a long line of Montgomery County officers in patrol cars visited Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, where Leotta was being treated.
The driver who hit the officer was taken into police custody but has not been charged, police said. Reluzco was required by state law to submit to a blood test, the results of which are pending. He refused on the scene to have his blood alcohol level tested using his breath.
Reluzco was not injured, police said.
Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to call 240-773-6620.