LA PLATA, Md. — A 50-year-old man has been convicted of Grossly Negligent Manslaughter of infant Ethan Ruefly, Negligent Homicide by Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol, and related charges.
In May 2018, just before 4 p.m., Maryland State Police responded to Southbound U.S. Route 301 at Pierce Road in 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.
According to police, Michael Maurice 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 was treated at the scene by EMS and then transported to Southern Maryland Hospital before being flown to the Children's National Medical Center where he later passed away.
At the scene, witnesses reported that Ford tried to hide beer cans that were in his vehicle and showed signs of impairment during the sobriety tests. It was revealed that Ford had a BAC level of .24.
An investigation into the collision found that the Jeep Wrangler operated by Ruefly’s mother was coming to a stop behind a Nissan 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 and the 3-month old was taken out of the vehicle to receive assistance.
Tony Covington, State’s Attorney for Charles County commented on the verdict.
"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.”