Video shows fatal City Hall crash

Video of the high speed crash that killed a bystander outside Baltimore City Hall last year shows the suspect being pulled out of his overturned car and restrained by people on scene.

The footage, shot from a Maryland State Trooper's patrol car that was trailing the speeding Acura sedan, was released this week by State Police.


The crash occurred on April 9, 2013, and killed city finance employee Matthew Hersl, a popular Little Italy neighborhood activist and Baltimore Orioles fan who was standing outside when the vehicle careened off of Interstate 83.

Johnny Johnson, 44, the Acura's driver, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and possession of a controlled dangerous substance on Dec. 12. The West Baltimore man was sentenced to 11 years.


According to police records, a state trooper identified only as "Z. Mills" said he was on his way to the Essex barracks on Interstate 83 when a black Acura nearly hit him from behind. The trooper told investigators that he activated the rear lights on his cruiser to warn the driver to slow down.

The Acura weaved across all four lanes before making a hard turn onto the Pleasant Street exit. The trooper said he followed the car as it ran a red light on Holliday Street before it lost control, struck Hersl, collided with a lightpole and overturned in front of City Hall.

Records estimate the car was driving 115 mph.

The trooper followed seconds later and arrested Johnson after bystanders pulled the driver out of the car. Test results showed Johnson had drugs in his system and investigators found heroin rocks in his car, prosecutors said.

At a December court hearing, Johnson admitted he was on drugs at the time of the crash and apologized to Hersl's family.

"I think about you all the time," he said, "and I just wanted to face you one time and apologize for what I have done."

Stephen Hersl, Matthew's brother who also spoke in court that day, said the family was trying to stay true to Matthew Hersl's character by not holding any ill will toward Johnson.

"I have no hate in my body for Mr. Johnson," Stephen Hersl said. "If someone had told me before this happened that someone had did this to my brother, I would have said that I have complete hate for that person.


"But my brother Matthew has taught me a lot in life. He was very kind and giving."

The results of an internal investigation into whether Trooper Mills actively pursued Johnson or whether he followed state police protocol trailing it into the city's jurisdiction remain unknown.

State police spokesman Sgt. Marc E. Black declined to comment Thursday and said the agency does not release administrative investigations.