Four Police Cruisers Struck by Impaired Drivers Over the Past Five Weeks

by Patrick Herron

Per MCPD: Over the past five weeks, four police cruisers have been hit while conducting police related activities. In each case, it was determined that the drivers of the striking vehicles were impaired. On Sunday, November 13, 2022, at approximately 12:24 a.m., a Gaithersburg Police officer, assigned to the Holiday Task Force, was outside of his cruiser conducting a traffic stop in the area of northbound I-270 and Montgomery Village Ave., when his cruiser was side swiped by a red 2021 Ford Explorer. Following the collision, it was determined the driver of the Explorer was under the influence.

On Sunday, November 20, 2022, at approximately 1:38 a.m., a Maryland State Police Trooper, assigned to the Holiday Task Force, was initiating a traffic stop, in the area of northbound I-270 and Middlebrook Rd., with all emergency lights and sirens activated, when his cruiser was sideswiped by a 2011 Nissan Maxima, in the travel lanes of the roadway. The officer attempted to stop the Nissan Maxima, but the driver did not immediately come to a stop. When the driver stopped a short distance later, it was determined that the driver was under the influence.

On Friday, November 23, 3022, at approximately 11:25 p.m., an officer observed a vehicle stopped at the intersection of New Hampshire Ave. and Lockwood Dr., despite having a green light. When the officer approached the vehicle, the driver was passed out at the wheel. The officer positioned his cruiser in front of the vehicle, to avoid the driver going into oncoming traffic. When the driver woke up and tried to drive off, they hit the officer’s marked police cruiser.

On Friday, December 9, 2022, at approximately 8:56 p.m., an officer was outside of their cruiser, on a call for service, on Gude Dr. at Taft St. The officer’s emergency lights were activated when the driver of a 1996 Geo 4S struck the back of the police cruiser. The driver of the vehicle was taken into custody under the suspicion of being under the influence.

As of October 1, 2022, the Move Over Law in Maryland requires drivers to make a lane change or slow down when approaching all stopped, standing, or parked car displaying warning signals. These signals including hazard warning lights, road flares, or other caution signals including traffic cones, caution signs, or non-vehicular warning signs.

The Montgomery County Police Holiday Alcohol Task Force began on November 9, 2022 and continues through January 1, 2023. In the first five weeks of the task force, officers made 190 arrests. During this time, the department remembers Police Officer III Noah A. Leotta. Officer Leotta was assigned to the Holiday Alcohol Task Force, on December 3, 2015, when he was struck by a drunk driver near the intersection of Rockville Pike and Edmonston Dr., while conducting a traffic stop. Officer Leotta ultimately succumbed to his injuries on December 10, 2015.


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