On July 10, 2020, Bryan Lee Wersten, age 32, of Berlin, Maryland, was sentenced by the Honorable Brian D. Shockley to a term of 10 years’ imprisonment, with all but 4 years suspended, in the Division of Correction. Following his release, Wersten will be on supervised probation for a period of 5 years. Wersten was previously convicted of homicide by motor vehicle while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance on February 28, 2020. Prior to sentencing, the State filed a notice with the Court which increased the maximum penalty for the offense to 10 years’ incarceration, due to Wersten’s prior conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol.
The charges stem from a December 2018 incident during which a pickup truck being operated by Wersten struck a traffic light support pole at the intersection of Rt. 589 and Beauchamp Road in Ocean Pines, Maryland. Witnesses stated that the truck veered suddenly from the roadway and lost control and Wersten admitted to officers on scene that he had taken prescribed methadone prior to driving. Wersten’s front seat passenger, Michael Lindsey Hernandez, also of Berlin, died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the collision. Wersten failed field sobriety tests and a subsequent blood test revealed that Wersten had methadone, clonazepam and metabolites of cocaine and marijuana in his system at the time of the collision.
Worcester County State’s Attorney Kris Heiser used the tragic loss of life as a reminder of the dangers of driving while under the influence of any substance, stating “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. 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.”