Montgomery County police officer fatally struck on I-70

A file photo of a Montgomery County police car. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
A Montgomery County, Maryland, police officer was struck and killed early Monday along Interstate 70 in Lisbon.

Lt. Daniel John Friz, 50, was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to Maryland State Police, a preliminary investigation determined that around 12:15 a.m., Friz, who was off-duty was traveling westbound on I-70 near Maryland Route 94 at the time of the incident. Officials said Friz was outside of his car when he was struck and killed.

The truck was inspected at a nearby scale house and was found to have no defects.

Montgomery County Police chief Marcus Jones said he was notified early Monday morning, and once the rest of the department learned what happened, its response to Friz’s death was “tremendous.”

Members of the department’s peer support team went to his family’s home to support his wife, who is also a Montgomery County Police officer, and three kids.

“I’ve known Dan for quite some time when I work with him at the police academy,” Jones said. “And he has been one of my one of our hardest working executives who worked extremely hard for this community, who put who put in endless hours who did any task I asked him to do without hesitation. And he always did it with a smile on his face.”

After serving the Navy, Friz completed the Montgomery County Police Training Academy as a sheriff’s deputy in 1994. He worked for the Gaithersburg police and earned two master’s degrees.  Friz had been a county officer since 2003 and was serving as deputy director of the Public Safety Training Academy’s training and education division.

“Dan was willing to do anything if he thought it would help you out,” Jones said. “It would not be unusual to see Dan sweeping the hallway or taking out the trash. He wanted people to succeed.”

Jones said it was not uncommon to see Friz return back to the training academy to speak to officers struggling with tough issues surround them in the profession and always offered words of encouragement. The “moral boost” he gave officers would be just enough to help them go through a tough period, the police chief said.

Friz also participated in a ceremonial bagpipe band for the deparment, who performed in many law enforcement services, including funerals. Jones said Friz “perfected” playing the instrument and did it with “great pride.”

“Next time I hear the bagpipes, I’m going to be thinking of him because that was his true commitment to this department,” Jones said.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone who has information is asked to email Maryland State Police at or to call the the Waterloo Barracks at (410) 379-9700.

See a map of the crash location below:

WTOP’s José Umaña contributed to this story. 

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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