SUV Carrying Montgomery, Maryland, County Executive and Wife Hit by Allegedly Drunk Driver.

By Ann E. Marimow
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) and his wife, Catherine, were heading home from an awards dinner in the District late Sunday when the sport-utility vehicle they were riding in was struck by an allegedly drunk driver.

The Leggetts were taken to Laurel Regional Hospital for tests and released a few hours later, about 1:30 a.m., spokesman Patrick Lacefield said yesterday.

The county executive had neck and back pain after the accident and was resting at home yesterday, Lacefield said. "He's feeling pretty sore," Lacefield said, but expects to be back in the office sometime today.

Lt. Samantha Horwitz, a member of the county security services division, was driving the couple in a county-owned black 2008 Chevrolet Suburban, and she suffered injuries to her knee. She was treated at the hospital in Laurel and released, police said.

The accident occurred about 10:20 p.m. as the Leggetts were returning home from a dinner sponsored by a Jewish community group, Lacefield said. The SUV was attempting to turn left from Route 29 onto Sandy Spring Road in Burtonsville when it was hit in the front passenger door by a westbound white 1996 Ford pickup that ran a red light, county police said. Leggett and his wife were in the back seat.

Police identified the driver of the pickup as Kendall Sterling Smith, 47, of Wheaton. According to the police report, Smith told officers that he had been drinking "lots" of Budweisers and that he "had too much to drink."

Smith failed roadside sobriety tests, according to the report, and a breath test showed that he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.18, more than twice the legal limit. Smith was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and failing to stop at a red light.

Smith declined to comment when reached at home yesterday.

Staff writer Lisa M. Bolton contributed to this report.

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