“It has fundamentally changed the course of our lives, casting a shadow over every moment of every day we live,” the boys’ father, Daniel Langenkamp, said in court.
He spoke of the specific effect on their boys.
“Why did this have to happen to us?” one will ask. “I want mama,” the other says repeatedly.
Prosecutors had earlier determined that Reyes Martinez’s driving, while careless, did not meet the threshold of Maryland’s vehicle manslaughter laws, a conclusion that Daniel Langenkamp said in an interview highlights a gap in state law.
“These penalties for killing people with a commercial truck are ridiculous,” he said.
Reyes Martinez said little in court. His attorney, David Moyse, noted that Reyes Martinez has been driving commercial vehicles for 12 years and “is a family man [with] three grown children.” Moyse declined to say more, citing ongoing litigation over the crash.
In court Monday, Montgomery County Assistant State’s Attorney Joshua Wesnidge summed up the underlying facts in the case and revealed Reyes Martinez had been involved in an earlier collision while driving a large, flatbed truck.
In the crash that involved Sarah Langenkamp, on Aug. 25, 2022, at 4:05 p.m., she was legally riding her bike in a bike lane on the right side of River Road heading toward Washington. To her left was Reyes Martinez’s truck, which made a right turn into the parking lot of Beacon Building Products.
“The defendant did not yield the right of way to Mrs. Langenkamp,” Wesnidge said. “The defendant then struck Mrs. Langenkamp with the front, right side of his vehicle, resulting in the vehicle rolling over the top of her and dragging her.”
She suffered catastrophic injuries, according to court records, and was pronounced dead at the scene.
As the prosecutor spoke, Sarah Langenkamp’s parents cried in the back of the courtroom.
“This is an incredible tragedy that could have been avoided and should have never happened,” Wesnidge said, adding, “When you drive a truck that is that large, there is no room for mistakes.”
In 2021, Wesnidge said, Reyes Martinez backed a truck into a parked car, causing it to be pushed into a second car. A responding police officer asked him what happened, according to the prosecutor, and Reyes Martinez said he hadn’t seen the car.
“That is similar to what happened in this [more recent] case,” Wesnidge said, “when the defendant made a turn when it was unsafe to do so.”
Reyes Martinez received a “probation before judgment” in the earlier case, a common outcome in traffic cases, which meant the guilty finding was stricken from his record, according to attorneys in the case.
The prosecutor said Sarah Langenkamp was likely in Reyes Martinez’s blind spot when he made his right turn but said Reyes Martinez had ample opportunity earlier to see her in the bike lane. Reyes Martinez pleaded guilty specifically to one count of causing serious physical injury or death to a vulnerable individual, a category of people on or alongside roadways that includes bicyclists and pedestrians, according to state law.
Daniel Langenkamp also spoke of his wife’s well-known talents as a diplomat and leader, and the role model she would have been for their boys as they grow older.
“Instead, the mention of the word ‘Mom’ will lead to this hole in their lives, caused by this defendant, as it did on Mother’s Day this year,” he said, “when instead of celebrating, we held a small memorial service by her urn in our house, inevitably remembering how she died — so senselessly, on a roadside under the wheels of a truck.”
Montgomery County District Judge Eugene Wolfe noted that Maryland law capped penalties for the offense at a fine of $2,000, imposition of driver’s safety instruction, up to 150 hours of community service and suspension of a driver’s license for seven days to six months. The exact suspension duration, Wolfe said, would be determined by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.
“The extent of what I can do in this case is extremely limited,” Wolfe said.
He acknowledged the grief felt by Langenkamp’s family.
“This is a tragic situation,” Wolfe said.
A spokeswoman for Beacon, citing ongoing litigation, declined to say if Reyes Martinez was still employed by the company or driving for the company.
“This was a tragic accident,” the spokeswoman said. “All of us at Beacon extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Sarah Langenkamp — and our hearts go out to all those affected by this tragedy.”