More than nine months after 14-year-old Gavin Knupp was fatally struck on a road outside of Ocean City, the young man who authorities believe was driving the Mercedes that struck him has been charged in connection to the crash.

Tyler Mailloux, 22, faces 17 charges in connection with the crash, including four felonies, according to court documents. The most serious charges, failing to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in death and failing to return to and remain at the site of a deadly accident, are both felonies that carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

In a statement, Gavin’s mother Tiffany Knupp, his father Ray Knupp and his sister Summer thanked the Worcester County state’s attorney, Kristin Heiser, and her team for the “diligence and hard work that led to the filing of these criminal charges.”

“This presents an important step towards accountability for Gavin’s death, but it is just a step in that direction,” the family said in a statement released by their attorney, Neil Dubovsky. “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 civil remedies available to the Knupp family.”

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Attempts to reach Mailloux were not immediately successful. An attorney is not currently listed for him in online court records.

Heiser declined to comment on the case, citing the pending trial. Maryland State Police, which investigated the crash, also declined to comment.

Mailloux could face more than 42 years in prison and more than $50,000 in fines if convicted of all charges. He was also charged with failing to render aid to an injured person and failing to report the accident, among other charges, according to court records.

Court records show that police pulled over Mailloux seven times between April 2017 and March 2022, related to traffic offenses including speeding, failing to stop at a stop sign and not wearing a seat belt. He was found guilty of all but one, records show.

Mailloux was not arrested, but court summons were mailed to him; an initial court appearance is scheduled for May 31. Assistant state’s attorney Paul T. Haskell is assigned to prosecute the case.

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Gavin’s death and the initial lack of charges galvanized year-round residents in the close-knit communities of Ocean City and Ocean Pines. Shops and restaurants along Route 50 and Ocean Highway posted signs demanding “Justice for Gavin” or “Do it for Gavin.”

Tens of thousands joined social media movements on Facebook and TikTok demanding charges in the case. Supporters of the Knupp family sponsored billboard ads about Gavin, including one in Middle River, and distributed bracelets and stickers to bring awareness to the case.

Members of the Facebook group expressed cautious optimism at the news Monday. “My heart goes out to your family. Praying that this is just the first step of getting Justice for Gavin,” wrote one supporter.

Family photo of Gavin Knupp
Community members show support for Gavin Knupp, who was struck and killed by a vehicle on an Ocean City-area road in June 2022. They demanded that charges be brought in the case against the young man suspected of being the driver. (Courtesy photo\ / Courtesy of Knupp family.)

In their statement, Gavin’s family thanked “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,” the family said.

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Family photo of Gavin Knupp
Family photo of Gavin Knupp. (Courtesy photo)

Gavin, a warm and spirited boy who loved surfing, skateboarding, hunting and fishing, was riding to his Ocean Pines home with his older sister, Summer, one evening last July when he asked her to pull over on Gray’s Corner Road so he could look at a taxidermied stag’s head sitting on the side of the road. Gavin was walking back to Summer’s car when a dark-colored vehicle traveling on the access road sped by and struck him.

Summer, 17, called 911 and performed CPR on her brother, but Gavin was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital.

While Summer did not witness the impact, she saw a dark car speeding away. Maryland State Police crash scene investigators found the driver’s side mirror from a black Mercedes near the crash site.

About a week later, state police impounded a black Mercedes from a home in a posh section of Ocean City owned by Ralph DeAngelus, then a partner in an Ocean City restaurant group. His girlfriend, Kearston Frey, and her adult son, Mailloux, also reside in the home.

Friends and relatives of the Knupp family expected charges to be brought in connection with the crash soon after police seized the Mercedes, but as weeks passed, their calls for justice grew louder. They began to boycott the Matt Ortt restaurant group, for which DeAngelus worked, picketing a boardwalk restaurant and posting critical reviews online.

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DeAngelus and his partners issued a statement in late July expressing sympathy to the Knupp family and stressing that DeAngelus, while not involved in the accident, “facilitated the immediate notification to authorities” when he learned about the crash on July 12.

In November, the Ortt group announced that it was severing ties with DeAngelus, Frey and Mailloux.

The service road that runs parallel to Route 50 where Gavin Knupp was hit in and hit-and-run in July of 2022.
The service road that runs parallel to Route 50 outside Ocean City where Gavin Knupp was struck by a driver who left the scene in July 2022. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

Gavin’s family created a foundation to honor him and have raised money to support causes close to the boy’s heart. They have helped support a little girl with a chronic disease and created a scholarship to send a teen to a New Jersey skateboarding camp that Gavin longed to visit.

On Monday, they were focused on the coming court appearance.

“It’s a relief that the case is finally moving forward,” said Ray Knupp, Gavin’s father. “I was raising my best friend and I was robbed of the chance to see him grow up, to see the man he was going to become.”

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julie.scharper@thebaltimorebanner.com

Tyler Mailloux charging documents

Julie Scharper is a news enterprise reporter who writes about interesting people, places, trends and traditions in Baltimore and the surrounding counties. She seeks to answer the question: What does it mean to be alive in this time and place? 

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