Delegate Rick Impallaria sentenced to jail for OC DWIReceived 60 days, with all but two suspended
(April 21, 2017) Del. Rick Impallaria (R-7), the deputy minority whip for this past session of the Maryland General Assembly, will spend only two days in Worcester County jail for DWI instead of the 60 he would have been sentenced to by Circuit Court Judge Thomas Groton because of the actions of the OCPD officer on the night of his arrest.
Assistant State’s Attorney Billy McDermott said under normal circumstances, the sentencing recommendation for a defendant in Impallaria’s position would be ten days, but because of the circumstances, he would be amenable to any amount exceeding that.
Groton, at first, appeared to agree with McDermott by offering a sentence of 60 days in jail, followed by 18 months of supervised probation, a $500 fine and court costs.
The hefty sentence is based on Impallaria’s previous driving record, which includes 52 traffic citations, plus a previous accident that resulted in a fatality though no criminal liability was assigned, and a conviction for assault for attempting to use his car to strike other people, including his own mother and brother.
McDermott also said Impallaria has a previous conviction for attempting to bribe a police officer, though that was not the situation in the current proceeding.
Impallaria was arrested on Aug. 18 in the area of 82nd Street in the resort, and was in town for the annual Maryland Association of Counties meeting.
Groton described the officer, confirmed to be Pfc. Nathan Kutz by Lindsay Richard, OCPD spokeswoman, as “lying in wait” for the delegate.
Groton said Kutz observed a beer in the delegate’s truck and waited for the owner to return and enter the vehicle before confronting him.
If the officer’s actions were to serve and protect the public, Groton said, the time to stop a person suspected of having too much to drink before operating a vehicle, is before that person enters the vehicle.
Groton said the officer’s actions “rubbed the court the wrong way.”
“By the same token,” Groton continued, “his intention — by testimony and statement — was to drive.”
For those reasons, Groton decided to suspend the additional jail time, but left the supervised probation plus fines and costs in place.
Impallaria said the fatal accident, which occurred sometime in the 1980s, has affected and informed all of his decisions since — for good and bad.
“The person who got in that car that night didn’t get out,” he said of himself, and added that he didn’t ask for someone to pull out in front of him.
He said he was proud of the work he’s done in the intervening years, and his past is what makes him who he is today.
In Sept. 2016, Pfc. Kutz was awarded a traffic safety award by the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission.