Second in Command at Natural Resources Police Charged With Drunk Driving, Hit-And-Run

    The deputy superintendent of the Natural Resources Police force resigned on Tuesday following his arrest on hit-and-run and drunk driving charges over the weekend.

    Lt. Col. Ernest J. Leatherbury Jr. was charged with driving under the influence, failure to remain at the scene of a property damage accident, negligent driving and unsafe backing after he reversed into another vehicle while stopped at a red light on Route 50 in West Ocean City on Saturday evening.

    Lauren Moses, a Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman, said that his resignation will go into effect immediately. Prior to this announcement, Moses told Maryland Matters that Leatherbury had been placed on emergency suspension.

    According to a police report, Leatherbury fled the scene. The driver of the damaged car called the police and followed Leatherbury to a Food Lion parking lot on Route 113, where he was arrested after officers smelled alcohol on his breath. Leatherbury was then transported to the Maryland State Police Berlin Barrack and released to a sober driver.

    According to a news release, the Maryland State Police notified the leaders at the Department of Natural Resources of this incident.

    Leatherbury, a retired state trooper, was tapped by Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr (R) to join the department as the deputy police superintendent in 2016.

    Hogan spokesman Michael Ricci told Maryland Matters that “the matter is under investigation.”

    Leatherbury also served as the director of public safety for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and previously chaired the Wicomico County Democratic Central Committee.

    His father, Lt. Col. Ernest J. Leatherbury Sr., was the first Black colonel to work for the Maryland State Police. Following his retirement, Leatherbury Sr. served as the chief of the Crisfield Police Department until his death in 2003.

    Editor’s note: This story was updated following news of the officer’s resignation and to correct the location of his arrest.

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    Hannah Gaskill
    Hannah Gaskill received her master’s of journalism degree in December 2019 from the University of Maryland. She previously worked on the print layout design team at The Diamondback, reported on criminal justice in Maryland for Capital News Service and served as a production assistant for The Confluence — the daily news magazine on 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR member station. Gaskill has had bylines in The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune, among other publications.Before pursuing journalism, she received her bachelor’s of fine art degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2016. She grew up in Ocean City.