Appalling’ Underage Drinking Parties Targeted by Grieving Parents of two students killed in Maryland

February 26, 2016 – ROCKVILLE, MD – The parents of a teenager killed after an underage drinking party turned grief into action this week to push for stronger laws.

Bills introduced in Annapolis would require toughen the penalties for the hosts of underage drinking parties.  House Bill 409, named Alex and Calvin’s Law, would be a penalty of one-year maximum in jail and double the fine from $2,500 to $5,000 for a first offense for providing alcohol to underage drinkers.  The proposals are spurred by two Montgomery County tragedies: the death of two Wootton High School graduates in June 2015 after attending an underage drinking party.  Kenneth Jay Saltzman of Potomac pleaded guilty in December to furnishing alcohol to a minor. He hosted the underage drinking party June 25, which was attended by Samuel Ellis, the former star quarterback at Thomas S. Wootton High School.

Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger denounced the lax punishment – a $2,500 fine for the death of a teenager after a party – which is the maximum penalty under state law.  “This is not justice. These misguided parents will continue to break the law, kids will continue to be injured and killed, until there are real consequences for someone who hosts an underage drinking party,” Manger said at a press conference. “The state needs to show that it cares more about keeping kids safe than it does about allowing parents to throw an underage drinking party for their kids.”

Members of the Senate committee unanimously approved the bill Wednesday, drawing cheers from the crowd.  David Murk and Paul Li testified about the deaths of their sons following the teen party, and told legislators that parents continue to host underage parties.  “It was really appalling after the accident and the individual who was hosting the party that night paid a $5,000 fine,” Murk told lawmakers, according to FOX DC. “That was very hard for my wife and I to swallow when he paid a fine in District Court as if he was paying a parking ticket.”

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