A driver who hit and killed a couple in Gaithersburg walking to a polling place on Election Day 2022 was convicted Monday, the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office said.
Circuit Court Judge Bibi Berry found Gaithersburg’s Davinder Singh, 58, guilty of homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, driving while under the influence of alcohol and multiple related charges, according to court records.
Singh faces up to 10 years in prison and $14,000 in fines, the State’s Attorney’s Office said.
Around 7:20 a.m. on Nov. 8, Montgomery County and Gaithersburg City police officers and Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) personnel responded to School Drive near Muddy Branch Road for a report of two pedestrians hit, according to a police press release.
Miguel Antonio Ortiz, 65, and Ana Margarita Ortiz, 70, a married couple from Gaithersburg, were crossing the street on School Drive to vote at Fields Road Elementary School when they were struck by a 2007 Toyota Prius traveling westbound, the press release said. The couple was taken to a nearby hospital where they were pronounced dead.
The couple was in the crosswalk when they were struck, County Council President Evan Glass (D-At-Large) tweeted.
Singh remained on the scene after the collision, according to the release.
“The defendant in this matter has a history of driving while under the influence and the family of these two beloved grandparents has suffered immeasurable loss,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said on Monday. “We are grateful for the outcome of today’s trial and will ask the judge to impose the maximum penalty under the law at the sentencing hearing.”
Singh was charged with driving while impaired by alcohol on Jan. 15, 2017, in the same area: Muddy Branch Road and School Drive in Gaithersburg, according to Rockville District Court records.
Singh’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 20.
His attorney was not able to be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
After this incident, community members expressed concern about pedestrian fatalities in the area. In 2022, prior to November, Montgomery County Police spokesperson Casandra Tressler said there were three other collisions reported near the intersection of Muddy Branch Road and School Drive: one personal-injury collision and two property-damage collisions.
So far in 2023, there have been nine pedestrian fatalities in the county, according to police, including one July 11 on Piccard Drive near Redland Road, two on May 21 on I-270 in Rockville and Veirs Mill Road near Newport Mill Road, and one on May 9 on Wisteria Drive.
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