Man arrested after crashing into Montgomery Co. police cruiser

BURTONSVILLE, Md. — Officer Edward E. Paden is lucky to be alive after he was hit by a drunk driver — now the Montgomery County police officer has a message for drivers before they celebrate the holiday weekend.

On Saturday night, police say 56-year-old Pedro Gaona Vera of Laurel, Maryland, drove his 2006 Kia Sedona into the back of Paden’s cruiser near Burtonsville Drive. The force of the collision caused the cruiser to hit the disabled motorist’s vehicle.

“We probably would have been looking possibly at another funeral day. If I had been standing outside the car or even my partner, if she hadn’t been in front of the car assisting the motorist,” Paden told reporters.

Officer Paden and his partner were providing traffic control at a mosque when a woman approached them, asking to help with her car, which would not start.

They parked a marked cruiser behind the disabled vehicle and activated the car’s emergency lights, which Vera told them he never saw.

“We’re coming up on a year anniversary of Officer [Noah] Leotta being killed by a drunk driver. And just to also highlight that point for motorists if they want to have that drink to have a designated driver,” Paden said.

Vera blew a .11 on the breathalyzer, police say. The legal limit in Maryland is .08.

Vera is facing multiple charges associated with driving under the influence of alcohol.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Editor’s note: The officer’s last name was previously spelled incorrectly as “Payden.” His name has been corrected to Edward E. Paden.

Megan Cloherty

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

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up