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Westminster police chief dies in crash

August 05, 1999

From staff and wire reports

FREDERICK, Md. - The police chief of Westminster, Md., died and another man was injured in a three-car accident on Md. 194 in Walkersville, Md., Wednesday afternoon.

Sam R. Leppo, 53, of Union Bridge, Md., was pronounced dead at the scene of the 2:45 p.m. accident, according to Maryland State Police.

Police said Leppo, who was off duty, was driving a 1995 Mazda pickup south on Md. 194 approaching Fountain Rock.

A 1988 Dodge Aries sedan driven by a 17-year-old male from Walkersville, Md., pulled out from Fountain Rock Road. As he attempted to make a left turn to northbound Md. 194, the Aries struck the passenger side of the pickup truck, police said.

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Leppo's pickup truck flipped onto its side and was hit by a 1995 Honda sport utility vehicle driven by Robert L. Robey, 53, of Frederick, Md., which was northbound on Md. 194.

Robey was flown to Washington County Hospital, police said. He was still being treated in the emergency room Wednesday evening, a supervisor said.

The teenage driver told police he was not injured, police said. The minor's name was not released, police said.

Leppo joined the Westminster police department in 1967 and was appointed chief in 1976, making him the longest serving police chief in active service in the state, Westminster Mayor Ken Yowan said.

"Sam Leppo personified the Westminster Police Department," Yowan said. "His character clearly was woven into the very fabric of the department."

The investigation into the accident was continuing, police said.

The northbound lanes of Md. 194 were closed for more than three hours as a result of the wreck.

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