MICHAEL MAURICE FORD CONVICTED OF KILLING BABY
LA PLATA, MD— Tony Covington, State’s Attorney for Charles County, announced that on October 7, 2019, a Charles County jury, after a 6 day trial, convicted Michael Maurice Ford, 50, of the Grossly Negligent Manslaughter of infant Ethan Ruefly, Negligent Homicide by Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol, and related charges.
Covington, commenting on the verdict, said, “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.”
On May 7, 2018, at approximately 3:48 p.m., troopers from the Maryland State Police responded to Southbound U.S. Route 301 at Pierce Road, 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. 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 Ethan Ruefly in a car seat by a tree next to U.S. Route 301. Ruefly, who appeared very pale and not breathing, was treated at the scene by EMS and then transported to Southern Maryland Hospital. Due to the severity of his injuries, Ruefly was flown to Children’s National Medical Center, where he later passed away.
At the scene of the incident, witnesses reported that Ford tried to hide beer cans that were in his vehicle. He also showed signs of impairment during Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. An intoximeter test was later conducted on Ford which revealed a .24 blood alcohol concentration level.
An investigation into the collision revealed that a Jeep Wrangler operated by Ruefly’s mother was coming to a stop behind a Nissan on Southbound Route 301 at Pierce Road 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. Ruefly was taken out of the Jeep Wrangler to receive assistance.
- • Grossly Negligent Manslaughter with Vehicle
- • Negligent Homicide by Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol
- • Negligent Homicide by Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol Per Se
- • Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
- • Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol Per Se
DWI HIT PARADE:
DUI checkpoint held in memory of Ethan Evans Ruefly who died after DWI driver Michael Maurice Ford slammed into his parents’ vehicle on May 7, 2018
LA PLATA, MD. – A child was killed when his parent’s car was rear-ended by a drunk driver on May 7, 2018, with the baby, who died a few days later in a hospital. The box truck that hit the vehicle made no attempt to stop to avoid the vehicle and after the truck hit the car, the driver fled the scene.
On Labor Day weekend, the parents of the infant killed by Michael Maurice Ford joined police in Charles County who dedicated their holiday effort to raise consciousness about drunk and drugged driving as well as snare DUI drivers on area roadways, with a sobriety checkpoint.
Maryland State Police report that on Aug. 31, 2018, the Maryland State Police La Plata Barrack, in conjunction with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, Maryland Transportation Authority Police and La Plata Town Police conducted a memorial sobriety checkpoint at the southbound lanes of US. Rt. 301, north of Pierce Road in Waldorf.
The checkpoint was in memory of Ethan Evans Ruefly who was a 3-month-old baby killed by a Michael Maurice Ford on May 10, 2018. Sobriety checkpoints are designed to aid troopers in identifying and removing impaired drivers from the highway. The Maryland State Police has zero-tolerance for intoxicated drivers and is doing their part to enforce DUI laws within Charles County.
Michael Maurice Ford, 50, of 10322 Hickory Ridge Road, Apt. 831, Columbia, Md., was indicted by the Charles County Grand Jury on June 1, 2018 on the following charges: felony negligent manslaughter while under the influence; reasonably knew an accident might result in death as a result of his actions, failure to remain at the scene of a collision, DWI, failure to render reasonable assistance to an injured person. A bench warrant was issued, and Ford was arrested and held without bond. A free attorney provided by taxpayers of Maryland, Derrick C. Johnson, represents Ford in the felony charges pending in Circuit Court of Charles County for trial on Nov. 13, 2018.
Ford was convicted of distribution of drugs on Dec. 22, 1989, and sentenced to five years in prison.
WALDORF, Md. (ABC7) — It’s been two weeks since a horrific crash in Waldorf took the life of a 3-month-old baby. Maryland State Police have said a suspected drunk driver arrested in connection to the crash could face charges of vehicular homicide or manslaughter by automobile.
Now, we’re hearing from the child’s heartbroken parents — and their message is a powerful one.
“We were pulling up to a stoplight, and I looked in my rearview mirror and saw the 26-foot Penske truck just coming — no brakes applied or anything — and by that time, it was too late for me to do anything,” said Tori Willett, who was behind the wheel of her family’s vehicle when the Penske truck hit them from behind.
Willett said her son, Ethan Ruefly, suffered brain damage in the collision that followed.
“It completely knocked him out,” said Willett, wiping away tears. “He was brain dead, from the impact.”
“It completely knocked him out,” said Willett, wiping away tears. “He was brain dead, from the impact.” Ethan was rushed to the hospital, but the family knew he was in bad shape. Three days later, Willett and Ethan’s father, Jonathan Ruefly, made the difficult decision to take their son off life support and say goodbye.
“That was probably the hardest day of my life. To make that kind of decision, no parent should ever have to do that,” Willett said. “I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.”
Ruefly said he will never forget the sound of the box truck slamming into his family’s Jeep Wrangler. He’s also haunted by the moment he realized the driver that had hit them likely under the influence.
“Yeah, I saw him get out of the truck and he kinda stumbled down the steps. And I saw beer cans fall out and he was kicking them underneath the truck, and that’s when I knew,” Ruefly said.
Maryland State Police have said the Penske driver, 49-year-old Michael Maurice Ford, had alcohol on his breath and failed a field sobriety test. He was arrested on the scene but has since been released as the investigation continues.
Police say the investigation into the crash could take about two months to complete.
Investigators will then turn their findings over to the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office, who will ultimately decide whether charges should be filed.
It’s something Willett and Ruefly have thought about often, in the days since their son’s death.
“I mean, we were just starting our family, we never thought our child would be gone before us,” Willett said. “I thought I avoided drunk drivers by keeping him home at night, but we were on the road at 3:30 p.m. in the afternoon and a drunk driver killed our child.”
The couple says their pain is their motivation to speak out. They want to share Ethan’s story with anyone who will listen.
“We just hope other people see this story and think twice before drinking and driving,” Willett said. “Think about Ethan. Think about your own children or your nieces or nephews. This could happen to anyone.”
It’s a message that they hope will save lives.
“If we can just help one family or prevent one person from drinking and driving, if we save one, we have done something,” Ruefly said.
In lieu of flowers at Ethan’s memorial service, the family also asked that donations be made to MADD at 511 E. John Carpenter Freeway, Irving, TX 75062 or Johns Hopkins Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center Fund (make checks payable to “Johns Hopkins Medicine”) at 600 N. Wolfe Street, Carnegie 424, Baltimore, MD 21287.
Willett and Ruefly felt that encouraging support for those two worthy causes was a fitting way to honor Ethan’s memory.
They also want to thank community members, friends, and even strangers who’ve donated to a GoFundMe Page that’s been set up to help the family pay for medical bills, funeral expenses, lost wages, and attorney fees.
“We’re just so grateful, people we don’t even know have donated,” said Willett. “It shows there are still good people in this world.”
Ethan Evans Ruefly, 12 weeks old, of La Plata, Maryland, died May 10, 2018, at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC.
Ethan was born on February 13, 2018, at Southern Maryland Hospital Center in Clinton, Maryland and was the son of Jonathan Evans Ruefly and Victoria Lynn Willett.
Ethan was the sweetest baby and so full of life. His personality was just beginning to shine through. Ethan’s smile could lift your spirits, even on your darkest days. He loved bath time, tummy time, eating, and movie Sundays with Mommy and Daddy. Ethan had the sweetest smile and the most beautiful big blue eyes you ever did see. He is forever in our hearts.
Ethan was preceded in death by his great-grandparents, Blanche and Willie Kline and Oren, Sr. and Genetta Ruefly.
In addition to his parents, Ethan is survived by his grandparents, William and Deborah Willett, Barbara and Thomas Hudgins, and Oren and Jane Ruefly; great-grandparents, William and Dorothy Willett and Sandra and Rudy Valentine; one uncle, Tyler Willett; and one aunt, Elizabeth Ruefly.
Friends will be received on Friday, May 18, 2018, from 5-8pm, with Memorial Service at 7 pm, at Raymond Funeral Chapel, 5635 Washington Avenue, La Plata, MD 20646. Interment will be private.
The family has requested NO flowers. In lieu of flowers, Ethan’s parents have requested that donations be made to either MADD Donations, 511 E. John Carpenter Freeway, Irving, TX 75062 or to the John’s Hopkins Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center Fund, (make checks payable to “Johns Hopkins Medicine”), 600 N. Wolfe Street, Carnegie 424, Baltimore, MD 21287 or http://pathology.jhu.edu/tbi/support.php.
The family has also set up a Go Fund Me link (https://www.gofundme.com/baby-ethan039s-memorial-fund).
FROM GOFUNDME PAGE:
On Monday, May 7th, 2018, Tori Willett and Jonathan Ruefly were driving home from work with their 3-month-old baby, Ethan. Suddenly they were rear-ended by a drunk driver who was driving a large box truck. Ethan was unconscious and not breathing until Medivac Helicopter Trooper 7 transported him to Southern Maryland Hospital with life-threatening injuries. From there, he was transported to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Ethan spent 3 days in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit on life support. He showed no signs of brain activity. While every effort was made, and every prayer said, Ethan’s injuries were too much for his little body. On Thursday, May 10th, we said goodbye to Ethan.
I am Jonathan’s sister who will be managing the campaign for Jonathan and Tori. All donated funds will go directly to them to help pay for medical bills, funeral expenses, lost wages, attorney fees and so on. Tori and Jonathan have experienced a tragedy that no parent should have to face. Thank you to everyone near and far who has sent prayers, kind words, and positive thoughts our way.