Vigil held for beloved Baltimore man Matt Hersl

BALTIMORE - Matt Hersl’s family gathered around the same time of the crash that took his life one year ago.

A moment of silence was held around 2 p.m. on Wednesday, where a plaque is placed to remember him. It reads, “At peace after 28 years of city service.”

His family said it has been a tough year without him. On April 9, 2013, Hersl was on a break outside of City Hall when police say a car driven by Johnny Johnson was speeding on I-83 South before he took the Pleasant Street exit, flipped and killed Hersl.

City councilmembers came out to greet the family. He is remembered as a well-liked supervisor in the city finance department, a neighborhood watch leader in Little Italy and an Orioles fan who collected foul balls and gave them to kids.

“We’re just here to celebrate Matt’s life today and keep his memory alive. We love and miss him very much,” Stephen Hersl, Matt’s brother, said. "It is a strong testament of what kind of person Matt was and what kind of city employee he was and how much he was loved by all."

Hersl, an avid Orioles fan, worked for the city’s finance department for 28 years.

“He was there every day and every night that they played,” Stephen said.

Months after the crash, Hersl's mom, brother and sister protested the decision to allow Johnson to accept a plea deal instead of go to court. But they later had a change of heart and determined he would want the family to move on. It was Hersl’s gentle spirit that eased his family away from going to trial against the driver of the car that crashed into their brother and son.

Johnson will spend 11 years in jail, one for drug charges and 10 for Hersl's death. Ten years is the maximum for vehicular manslaughter.

A State Police report showed that a trooper noticed Johnson’s car speeding. He put his lights on and followed the car, but it was never determined to be an illegal police pursuit.

Hersl’s mom was seen kissing flowers before they were laid where her son died.

“He was a beautiful person and a giving and caring person,” Stephen said. 

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