Dad at party that led to N. Potomac fatal crash pleads guilty
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WUSA9) -- A father present at an alcohol-fueled party in N. Potomac that led to a fatal car crash in June pleaded guilty to two counts of allowing underage drinking in a residence Thursday.
Kenneth Saltzman was home during an underage drinking party, which then later led to a crash that left two teenagers dead. He pleaded guilty to two counts of allowing underage drinking in a residence and two fines of $2,500.
"I just can't believe you can walk in and write a $5,000 check and I'm never getting my son back," said Pamela Murk, Alex Murk's mother.
Seriously injuring two, killing two and putting the lives of more than two dozen at risk is really disgraceful. The Maryland law really needs to change, said David Murk, Alex's father.
The two lives were the Murk's son, Alex, and his friend, Calvin Li. Both were passengers in a car driven by Sam Ellis that left the Saltzman party minutes before slamming into a tree and fence.
"He was my firstborn miracle son. I couldn't get pregnant, I didn't think I could," said Pamela Murk. "Just a huge personality in our house. And we're devastated."
The party was held at the home of Saltzman, whose daughter was the host. Police say there were more than 20 underage partygoers drinking beer and vodka at the Saltzman home. According to police records, when one teenager brought in two 30-packs of beer, Saltzman jokingly asked if one of them was for him.
All of the alcohol for the party was bought at a liquor store in Rockville, sources say. Some of that alcohol was purchased by a teenage boy with what sources describe as "a very good fake ID." The rest of the alcohol was bought by a 21-year-old sibling of one of the partygoers.
"We're devastated," David Murk said. "This has been the hardest six months of our lives. We're just working to survive as a family."
The Murk family now plans to fight for new legislation in Maryland to increase the penalties for this crime. Current sentencing guidelines do not allow for jail time and the Murks believe there needs to be a deterrent.
Back in early November former Wootton High School quarterback, Samuel Ellis, 19, was charged with two counts of negligent manslaughter and two counts of negligent homicide under the influence, officials said. .
The crash happened in the area of the 13800 block of Dufief Mill Road on June 25. Ellis was driving the car from an underage drinking party when the car crashed into a fence and then into a tree before overturning into a yard. According to officials, speed and alcohol were both factors in the crash.
Murk and Li, both passengers in the back seat, were killed in the crash. A fourth teen, who was in the front passenger seat, also suffered serious injuries.
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