Westminster police chief dies in crash

Leppo killed in accident in Frederick County

August 05, 1999|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,SUN STAFF

Westminster Police Chief Samuel R. Leppo was killed yesterday in Frederick County when the pickup truck he was driving was struck by two vehicles, state police said.

Leppo, 53, of Union Bridge was off duty. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident in Walkersville, police said.

Police said Leppo was driving a 1995 Mazda pickup south on Route 194 about 2: 45 p.m. when a 1988 Dodge Aries pulled onto Route 194 from eastbound Fountain Rock Road and struck the passenger side of Leppo's truck.

The collision caused the pickup truck to flip over onto the driver's side and into the northbound lane of Route 194, where it was struck by a 1995 Honda Passport, police said.

Police said Leppo's pickup and the Passport came to rest along Route 194. A deputy state medical examiner pronounced Leppo dead, police said.

Robert L. Robey, 53, of Frederick, the driver of the Passport, was flown by MedEvac helicopter to Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown, where he was treated for minor injuries and released, a hospital spokeswoman said. The driver of the Aries, a 17-year-old Walkersville boy, was not injured, police said.

Leppo joined the Police Department in 1967 and was appointed chief in July 1976.

"Sam Leppo personified the Westminster City Police Department, and over his tenure as chief, it matured into one of the best police departments of its size anywhere," said Westminster Mayor Kenneth A. Yowan.

Leppo is survived by his wife and a son.

Last night, Yowan appointed Maj. Roger Joneckis acting police chief.

The north lanes of Route 194 were closed for about three hours.

State police are investigating the accident.

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