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On The Front Lines

Citing Need for Transparency & Accountability, Rutherford Institute Calls for Independent Examination Into Md. Police Crash Investigation

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.— Citing the need to address and resolve concerns about Maryland State Police internal controls, improper influences and faulty police practices in connection with a fatal car crash, attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have asked Maryland officials to launch an independent  review of the circumstances surrounding the crash. According to a supplemental investigation, Joseph R. Neuberger died as a result of injuries sustained after a 16-year-old driver, driving without his lights on and speeding between 61 and 73 m.p.h., allegedly crashed into his vehicle late in the night of October 26, 2017.

The Rutherford Institute’s letter to the State’s Attorney is available at www.rutherford.org.

“At all times, it is essential that all branches of government, and law enforcement in particular, be wholly transparent about their activities and accept an examination of those activities that are questionable,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute.

At 9:20 p.m. October 26, 2017, Joseph Neuberger was driving south on Maryland State Route 279 (Elkton Road), heading to his home in Elkton, Maryland. As he was making a left turn onto Iron Hill Road and crossing the northbound lanes of the divided highway, Neuberger was broadsided by a northbound vehicle driven by a teenage driver who had obtained his provisional license six months earlier. Neuberger suffered massive injuries as a result of the crash and was rushed to a nearby hospital. Maryland State Police officers responded to the scene and prepared a report which concluded that Neuberger was at fault for failing to yield the right-of-way to the northbound vehicle. However, the initial investigation did not conduct any accident reconstruction, even though a qualified officer was on the scene, and did not conduct any chemical testing on the teenaged driver. Additionally, although there were witnesses to the crash, they were not listed on the initial report.

Concerned about the adequacy of the investigation, Neuberger’s family asked the Maryland State Police to conduct a supplemental investigation. The supplemental investigation revealed a video recording of the crash showing that the teenage driver did not have his headlights on at the time of the crash, a fact that was confirmed by one of the witnesses to the crash, and that the car that struck Neuberger was traveling at between 61 and 73 m.p.h., well in excess of the posted 50 m.p.h. limit. Despite these findings, the supplemental report still concluded that Neuberger was the primary cause of the crash. Neuberger’s family retained independent experts to examine the police reports, who agreed the reports are riddled with errors. In weighing in on the case, attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have echoed the call for an independent investigation of both the accident and the ensuing investigations to ensure that concerns about Maryland State Police internal controls, improper influences and faulty police practices are addressed and resolved.

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