Parents of fallen officer: "Everything is different" | News
OLNEY, Md. (WUSA9) -- The grief-stricken parents of a Montgomery County police officer killed by a suspected drunk driver are demanding change.
Officer Noah Leotta passed away a few days after he was hit by a driver while on a task force to get impaired drivers off the roads.
The driver, Gustavo Reluzco, had already been arrested twice for drunk driving. Leotta's parents are calling for a national database to track repeat offenders.
"Everything is different. The first thing I think about in the morning is my son is gone," Marcia Leotta said.
The street where Noah Leotta grew up is now dotted with blue ribbons, hung in his honor. Rich Leotta is still wearing his son's badge.
"It’s hard to take it off. It was on him when he was struck," Rich Leotta said. "It’s a part of him, it’s a part of me."
Colleagues remember Noah Leotta as a tireless, compassionate police officer. After his death, Rich and Marci Leotta donated their son’s organs so he could continue to save lives. Now, they want to save even more.
"We have national databases on many, many things in this country. Guns and so forth. We need to do it with drunk driving and make everybody’s life safer," Rich Leotta said.
A national database in Noah’s name would allow law enforcement and others to learn when a drunk driver has previous out of state convictions.
"Just like child molesters, I think everybody deserves to know who are the repeat offenders and of course, you have to do it nationally," Marcia Leotta said.
That national database and much tougher laws to honor the man who was a shy and timid child who picked a profession where he needed to be fearless.
"He was so scared of so many things and he just became such a brave, wonderful, sensitive man. And I’m so proud of him," Marcia Leotta said.
Noah’s parents don’t know specifically who received their son’s organs. But they do know at least two of them were young children.
In the state of Maryland, many lawmakers are supporting a bill dubbed “Noah’s Law” that would require all convicted drunk drivers to install ignition interlock devices in their cars for at least six months.
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