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Drunk Driver Found Guilty of the Vehicular Homicide of Infant

La Plata, MD - Tony Covington, State’s Attorney for Charles County, announced that on October 7, 2019, a Charles County jury, after a 6 day trial, convicted Michael Maurice Ford, 50, of the Grossly Negligent Manslaughter of infant Ethan Ruefly, Negligent Homicide by Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol, and related charges.

Covington, commenting on the verdict, said, “I am disappointed – but not with the jury. The jury rendered a reasonable verdict, so I am fine with it. I am disappointed in the fact that this now convicted baby-killer is only facing 10 years — the maximum for killing someone while driving drunk— for this heinous crime. You can get 20 years for theft in Maryland but only 10 years for extinguishing a life — especially a 3-month-old child’s life. That simply isn’t right. It isn’t just. So, I’m disappointed in our lawmakers who refuse to fix this travesty by simply increasing the penalty for such crimes. I’m satisfied with the verdict but not the potential consequences for this terrible crime. The consequences are ridiculously light.”

On May 7, 2018, at approximately 3:48 p.m., troopers from the Maryland State Police responded to Southbound U.S. Route 301 at Pierce Road, Waldorf for the report of a serious multi-vehicle collision. Upon arrival, troopers observed a Freightliner with heavy front-end damage and a Jeep Wrangler with extreme rear end damage. Ford, the operator of the Freightliner, attempted to flee the scene of the incident prior to the arrival of the troopers; however, good Samaritans prevented him from leaving. Troopers also discovered 3-month-old Ruefly in a car seat by a tree next to U.S. Route 301. Ruefly, who appeared very pale and not breathing, was treated at the scene by EMS and then transported to Southern Maryland Hospital. Due to the severity of his injuries, Ruefly was flown to Children’s National Medical Center, where he later passed away.

At the scene of the incident, witnesses reported that Ford tried to hide beer cans that were in his vehicle. He also showed signs of impairment during Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. An intoximeter test was later conducted on Ford which revealed a .24 blood alcohol concentration level.

An investigation into the collision revealed that a Jeep Wrangler operated by Ruefly’s mother was coming to a stop behind a Nissan on Southbound Route 301 at Pierce Road prior to the collision. Ruefly was in his car seat in the backseat of the Jeep Wrangler, and his father was seated in the front passenger side. Ford, who was driving erratically behind the Jeep Wrangler, made no effort to stop his Freightliner and plowed into the Jeep Wrangler at a constant speed, causing it to strike the Nissan in front of it on the driver’s side. The Freightliner then struck the rear of the Nissan. Ruefly was taken out of the Jeep Wrangler to receive assistance.

Guilty

• Grossly Negligent Manslaughter with Vehicle
• Negligent Homicide by Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol
• Negligent Homicide by Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol Per Se
• Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
• Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol Per Se

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