Maryland Hooters Restaurant to Close After Drunk Customer Kills Officer in Car Crash

By Jim Liao
Jim Liao
Jim Liao
July 27, 2016 Updated: July 27, 2016

A Hooters restaurant in Maryland is being closed down after serving alcohol to a man who drove drunk and fatally struck a police officer, according to Montgomery County officials.

The restaurant was implicated in a December incident in which beer and whiskey was served to 47-year-old Luis Reluzco for over four hours.

Afterwards, Reluzco returned to his vehicle and attempted to drive, during which time he struck Montgomery County Officer Noah Leotta, who had stepped outside of his patrol car to conduct a traffic stop.

Police records say that Reluzco’s blood-alcohol concentration was .22, nearly three times the legal limit of .08, according to the Washington Post. Police said Reluzco also admitted to smoking marijuana and taking a Xanax, according to WUSA9.

Leotta’s family has since been fighting to hold the restaurant accountable.

The Hooters originally had a hearing scheduled with the Montgomery County Board of Liquor Commissioners on Aug. 4 as to whether the business could keep its alcohol license.

The hearing has since been canceled due to a recent agreement between the restaurant and the county to shutter the restaurant. The restaurant will close Nov. 1.

Leotta’s father, Richard Leotta, told WUSA9 that the restaurant’s closing was a “moral victory.”

“They are culpable and an accomplice in the murder of my son,” Leotta told WJZ. “They need to pay a price for that.”

The incident led to the enactment of “Noah’s Law” in May by Gov. Larry Hogan, which requires that breath-testing ignition interlock systems be put in the cars of drunk driving offenders.

Reluzco pleaded guilty in May to vehicular manslaughter and could receive up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on August 23.

A Hooter’s attorney made the following statement regarding the officer’s death via an agreement letter.

“The horrific events of Dec. 3, 2015, which led to Officer Leotta’s tragic death will never be forgotten,” the letter said, according to WUSA9. “Hooters is deeply saddened by the loss of Officer Leotta, and will continue to work diligently to prevent such a loss in the future.”

Jim Liao