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New initiative makes a spiritual commitment to Noah to toughen up on drunk driving –

by Terri Hogan

Senior Staff Writer

Rich Leotta and Marcia Goldman, parents of fallen Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta, do not want other parents – or anyone – to lose a loved one to drunk driving.

They held a news conference in the lobby of Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville on May 22, where they were joined by County Executive Isiah Leggett, State’s Attorney John McCarthy, County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger and Chuck Hurley of Mothers Against Drunk Driving to announce a campaign to eliminate drunk driving in Montgomery County.

Noah on Patrol is an 18-month strategic public-private cooperative education-enforcement initiative designed to achieve zero tolerance for drunk driving, to make Montgomery County the first major jurisdiction in the nation to eliminate drunk driving and to serve as a model for local jurisdictions nationwide.

Noah Leotta, 24, of Olney, died in December 2015.

While working on the Holiday Alcohol Task Force, he was struck by a car driven by a drunken driver and died a week later.

Following Noah’s death, his parents spearheaded the passage of a long-sought law—known as Noah’s Law — that requires ignition interlock devices for all convicted drunken drivers.

They have launched Noah on Patrol as another effort to combat drunk driving. The initiative takes aim at judges who are not enforcing Noah’s Law.

Rich Leotta said judges routinely place first-time DUI offenders on probation, undermining intention of Noah’s Law. The law does not require the installation of an interlock device for those placed on probation.

Noah on Patrol will monitor the courts and publish the results of the effort, naming judges who let drunken drivers off with little or no consequences.

“My son, Officer Noah Leotta, understood the very serious problem of drunk driving that has been going on for decades in this country,” Rich Leotta said. “In fact, drunk driving continues to be the number-one cause of fatalities on our roadways. Every day 30 people are killed senselessly at the bloodied hands of drunk drivers. That is someone killed every 49 minutes. This is like a mass murder going on every day in this country and yet we seem to accept these facts without much thought. Well, I say enough is enough.”

He said the program’s focus will be vibrant, vigorous and visible enforcement; ensuring the court system thinks about the victim and community when implementing drunk driving laws; and engaging with all aspects of both public and private sectors to act responsibly when it comes to the distribution and consumption of alcohol.

“To eliminate drunk driving, we all must act responsibly when it comes to alcohol, from the manufacturer, the distributor, the various business that serve alcohol, the server and the consumer,” Rich Leotta said. “If we work together we can make a difference and save lives.”

He emphasized that this is not an anti-alcohol campaign.

“We believe you can have a vibrant hospitality industry with zero tolerance for drunk driving,” Rich Leotta said. “We ask for the hospitality industry, as well as all residents in Montgomery County, to join us in this effort.”

He said this is more than a campaign to end drunk driving in the county and beyond.

“It is a spiritual commitment to my son Noah,” Rich Leotta said. “He told me a week before he was struck about the serious problem of drunk driving. He told me: one, our laws are too weak; two, our judges are too lenient; and three, he loved being a Montgomery County police officer.

“I believe somehow he knew his life was going to be cut short by the very crime he was trying to protect us from. He was giving me my charge to continue the fight against drunk driving in his name and all the victims of drunk driving.”


    Noah On Patrol is seeking partnerships with government, the business community, nonprofit sector and residents to make Montgomery County #NoahStrong and a model for eliminating drunk driving in America.

    For more information and to donate through a GoFundMe account, go to www.NoahOnPatrol.org.

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