Four felonies lead 17 total violations listed, summons issued in July ’22 incident
By Hunter Hine, Staff Writer
(May 4, 2023) About 10 months after a dark Mercedes drove away after hitting and killing 14-year-old Ocean Pines resident Gavin Knupp on Grays Corner Road, 22-year-old Tyler Mailloux, of Berlin, was charged as the driver.
Worcester County State’s Attorney Kristin Heiser filed the charges, 17 altogether, against Mailloux in circuit court last Friday. Four of the 17 are felonies, two of which carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. All the charges are related to Mailloux’s alleged failures to stop at the scene or report it later.
The list includes charges such as failure to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in bodily injury or death, and failure to report an accident that involved bodily injury or death within 15 days of the incident happening.
On Monday, a summons was filed for Mailloux’s initial appearance in court, set for May 31. If Mailloux’s attorney enters an appearance on his behalf before the court date, then the initial appearance will be canceled, Heiser said.
“The whole point of the initial appearance hearing is to advise the defendant of the charges and explain his right to have an attorney.” Heiser said. “If he already has an attorney, the court doesn’t need to advise him on those things.”
Gavin’s mother Tiffany Knupp posted a message on Facebook directed at Mailloux on Monday.
“Tyler I have waited so long for this moment and the words I would say have played over and over in my head. Yet I’m speechless. The fear of seeing you face-to-face is now something I have to prepare us for not just think about,” Knupp wrote. “This is real again, Gavin is never coming home and the pain is flooding me. You killed my son.”
Ray Knupp, Gavin’s father, posted an image of Mailloux on his Facebook on Monday with the words “F— you Tyler,” pasted under his face. In the header Ray Knupp wrote, “Tyler Mallioux is his name.”
In the months following the incident, the Knupp family has led a movement to bring charges to those involved in his death.
The family created the Gavin Knupp Foundation, a nonprofit made in his honor that donates to the Ocean City Surf Club and awards scholarships for programs such as Camp Woodward, a skateboarding camp.
Gavin was an avid skater and surfer who also enjoyed fishing and hunting on the Eastern Shore. The foundation’s mission is to create opportunities for youths to participate in everything Gavin loved.
The Do it for Gavin – Justice for Gavin Facebook group has 22,000 members who have posted in remembrance of Gavin and shared hopes that those responsible for his death are held accountable.
“We are immensely grateful to Kris Heiser and her team for the diligence and hard work that led to the filing of these criminal charges against the defendant Tyler Mailloux,” said Knupp family Attorney Neil Dubovsky in a statement Monday. “We also again want to express our appreciation to our family, friends and the entire community for their love and support. We will forever be grateful for the strength you have given us to keep fighting and we have only just begun.”
Around 10:45 p.m., on July 11, 2022, Gavin’s sister, Summer Knupp, now 17, picked him up from a friend’s house. She was driving west on Grays Corner Road, back to their mother’s house in Ocean Pines. They stopped, and Gavin allegedly got out of the car to take a picture of a taxidermy deer mount on the side of the road. While crossing the street to return to the car, a vehicle heading east hit Gavin.
Summer Knupp reportedly attempted to perform CPR on Gavin at the scene before first responders took Gavin to Atlantic General Hospital.
He was pronounced dead that night at AGH.
The side view mirror of a black Mercedes sedan made between 2011-2012 was left at the scene. On July 17, police found a black Mercedes that had damages consistent with the crash in the garage of local businessman Ralph DeAngelus’ home. Maryland State Police took the car for processing.
Mailloux is the son of DeAngelus’s girlfriend, Kearston Frey.
Although Mailloux was never officially declared to be connected to the crime before Friday’s charges, many locals suspected he had been the driver.
DeAngelus made a statement on July 28, saying that he and his businesses — including his partnership in the Matt Ortt Companies restaurants — were not involved in the incident. He claimed to have reached out to authorities the day after the incident, but that police didn’t contact him until the 15th.
According to DeAngelus’s statement, his lawyers had made arrangements with the Maryland State Police on July 15 to drive the Mercedes to the Berlin Barrack. Police executed a search warrant on DeAngelus’ home and seized the car on July 17 for processing.
Matt Ortt, co-founder of Matt Ortt Companies, announced the dissolution of his partnership with DeAngelus Nov. 7, and apologized for originally defending him.
The Knupp family and locals involved in the Justice for Gavin movement still boycotted restaurants that had been affiliated with DeAngelus and his business partners.
On Monday, before Tiffany Knupp made the Facebook post directed at Mailloux, she posted a picture of the state’s attorney’s request for summons, which asked the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Worcester County to issue a summons for Mailloux. It asked to attach the charging document to the summons when delivered.
“See you soon,” Tiffany Knupp wrote above the picture.
“This [the charges] presents an important step towards accountability for Gavin’s death, but it is just a step in that direction,” Dubovsky said in the statement Monday. “Let there be no confusion — we will not rest until that process is completed, both through this criminal prosecution in addition to pursuing any and all available civil remedies.”