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Sources: Parent was at party that led to fatal N. Potomac crash | News

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Sources: Parent was at party that led to fatal N. Potomac crash

NORTH POTOMAC, Md. (WUSA9) -- A parent was present at an alcohol-fueled party in North Potomac that led to a fatal car crash in June, according to documents obtained by WUSA9.

The documents also show that the car carrying Alex Murk, Calvin Li, Sam Ellis and Cameron Siasi was also traveling at least more than 30 miles above the speed limit before the crash.

The four were leaving a house party on June 25 on Dufief Mill Road in North Potomac when their car, driven by Ellis, flew into a fence, hit a tree and landed upside down in a nearby yard. Murk and Li, both riding in the back seat, were killed in the accident. Ellis and Siasi, who was the front-seat passenger, both suffered serious injuries. 

The documents show that Ellis was driving at a minimum speed of 65 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour zone. In an interview with investigators, Siasi said he saw the speedometer at 105 miles per hour and said "Sam’s eyes widened" and "Calvin let out a faint scream."

Police release names of N Potomac crash victims

"We know he was going at least 65 miles an hour and probably much, much more. He was on the wrong side of the road, trying to go around the speed camera," Montgomery County Police Captain Tom Didone said.

An investigation indicated that Ellis’ car was traveling southbound in the northbound lane on Dufief Mill Road. Siasi told investigators that Ellis, 18, was worried about getting a ticket from a nearby speed camera and someone in the car said 'if you go fast enough, the camera won’t get you.'

Police had previously said Murk and Li were not wearing seatbelts. Both of the front-seat passengers were wearing seatbelts. 

"When parents are hosting parties and kids are going to drink, they’re going to drink more. And bad things occur," Didone said. 

Sources confirm to WUSA9 that the party was held at the home of Kenneth Saltzman, whose daughter was the host. Documents reveal that one partygoer brought two 30-packs of beer and Salzman jokingly asked if one of those cases 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.   

"It’s not a kiddie crime. It is something very serious. We hear about these consequences all the time so parents need to have that family discussion," Didone said. 

Documents show Ellis’ blood alcohol level was a .09 at a hospital two hours after the crash. Later, using a state police kit, it was a .07.  For adults, the legal limit of intoxication is .08.

According to the documents, Ellis also tested positive for marijuana and benzodiazepines, which is found in medications like Xanax.

In their investigation, police encountered difficulties getting community members to provide any information. Police had to subpoena more than a dozen teenagers to testify before a grand jury and sources say as many of three-quarters of them lawyered up. The teens agreed to provide information to police on the promise of immunity. 

Ellis has still not been interviewed by police because his lawyer has not allowed it. He is expected to face two felony charges of manslaughter by vehicle, one each for the deaths of Murk, 18, and Li, 18. 

Salzman is expected to be charged with adult responsibility, meaning he knew or should have known underage drinking was taking place in his home. He could face up to 25 separate charges.

The charges for both men are expected to be filed in October

As part of their investigation, police issued 12 subpoenas to social media companies, including Snapchat and Twitter. Those companies complied and provided snaps and tweets related to the party, including those that were later taken down. 

Ellis, Li and Murk were all recent graduates of Wootton High School. Li and Murk also played on the school's football team. 

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