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Driver jailed in death of Noah Leotta released early

by Judith Hruz


Luis Gustavo Reluzco, the Olney man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter by motor vehicle in the death of Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta, was released from prison, five years early.

Reluzco was sentenced in Montgomery County Circuit Court in October 2016 to 10 years in prison, the maximum penalty in the state of Maryland.

He was mandatorily released May 28, Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy confirmed.

In several media accounts, Rich Leotta, father of Noah Leotta, said he was disappointed in Reluzco’s release and that Reluzco did not take responsibility for the death of Noah.

Attempts to reach Rich Leotta were unsuccessful.

At a press conference following Reluzco’s sentencing in 2016, Leotta said, “Ten years will give him time to get his life in order so that he will be a better person.”

Attempts to reach an attorney for Reluzco also were unsuccessful.

Police said that on Dec. 3, 2015, Leotta was working as part of the Holiday Alcohol Task Force when he conducted a traffic stop in the curb lane of northbound Rockville Pike at Edmonston Drive in Rockville at 9:47 p.m.

During the traffic stop, a 2012 Honda CRV, traveling north on Rockville Pike, struck Leotta’s marked police cruiser and then struck Leotta, who was outside of his vehicle.

The driver of the CRV, identified as Reluzco, remained at the collision scene. Police said Reluzco had a Blood Alcohol Content of .22 – nearly three times the legal limit of .08 – when his vehicle struck Leotta.

Leotta died from his injuries on Dec. 10.

Investigators reported that Reluzco had been arrested at least three previous times on alcohol-related offenses.

On April 11, 2016, the Maryland General Assembly unanimously passed Noah’s Law, named in memory of Noah Leotta. The legislation requires a driver to use an interlock ignition device if he or she takes a Breathalyzer test and blows a .08 or higher (legally drunk).

Noah Leotta grew up Olney and attended Sherwood High School and had been assigned to Sherwood during various activities since becoming a police officer.

Leotta had been a Montgomery County Police officer since January 2013. He was a Fourth District officer who was working as a member of the Holiday Alcohol Task Force. The officers of that task force devote their full time to detecting alcohol-related offenses during the holiday season.

Before serving as a county police officer, Leotta was an intern with the police department in a unit that focuses on impaired-driving enforcement.

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