Md. man pleads guilty to allowing underage drinking that led to fatal crash

WASHINGTON — Prosecutors say he allowed a group of teens to drink alcohol at his Potomac, Maryland house, which resulted in a deadly crash that killed two 18-year-old high school graduates.

On Thursday, Kenneth Saltzman, 49, pleaded guilty to two counts of allowing underage drinking at his North Potomac home in late June.

After leaving the party, police say two Thomas S. Wooton High School graduates, 18-year-old Alex Murk and his classmate, 18-year-old Calvin Li, were killed. Two others were seriously hurt after the car they were riding in crashed into a tree.

The driver, Sam Ellis, was later indicted, charged with two counts of vehicular homicide and two counts of homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

Police found drinks from the party in the car, still cold to the touch.

Court records show the judge gave Saltzman the maximum penalty, a $2,500 fine for each death.

“Until the law is amended to include some criminal liability, jail time and / or increased or enhanced fines when people are injured or killed as a result of someone providing alcohol or allowing it to be consumed on their premises, this will be the extent of the penalty for this particular case, under the current statutes. This office supports any legislative effort that would attach a possible prison sentence when a death results from a furnishing violation,” said Ramon Korionoff, spokesman for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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