A Berlin man has received a ten-year prison sentence, with all but four years suspended, for a conviction of homicide by motor vehicle while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance.
According to the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office, the charges against 32-year-old Bryan Lee Wersten resulted from a December 2018 incident in which a pickup truck he was driving crashed into a traffic signal pole. The incident at Route 589 and Beauchamp Road in Ocean Pines resulted in the death of a front seat passenger, Michael Lindsey Hernandez.
Police said Wersten said at the scene that he had taken prescribed methadone before the collision. Prosecutors said tests revealed that he had methadone, clonazepam and metabolites of cocaine and marijuana in his system.
The state sought enhanced penalties due to Wersten’s prior conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Hernandez, whose life was unnecessarily taken from him by the reckless behavior of this defendant,” Worcester County State’s Attorney Kris Heiser said. “While no amount of punishment can heal their loss, my office takes our obligation to hold offenders accountable seriously. We will also continue to use these cases as a warning to our citizens of the real and devastating consequences of driving while impaired. Even prescribed medications can impair your ability to drive, and those who get behind the wheel when they shouldn’t will be held to account in Worcester County.”