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Driver In City Hall Crash That Killed Pedestrian Gets 11 Years After Plea Deal

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The man charged with hitting and killing a longtime Baltimore City employee earlier this year in front of City Hall enters a plea in the case and learns his fate.

Vic Carter has more on what this means and reaction from the victim's family.

Johnny Johnson entered a guilty plea to vehicular manslaughter in the death of Matthew Hersl back in April.

As part of a plea deal, Johnson received a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison for the manslaughter charge and for possession of heroin residue that was found in his car.

Johnson was being chased by police going more than 100 mph onto city streets from Interstate 83 when he lost control. The car flipped, struck and killed Hersl, who was standing out front of City Hall.

The victim's family responded to the plea on Thursday.

"I did get to say an impact statement where I forgave Johnny Johnson, and I told him I had no hatred toward him. My brother Matt was a very good person, a loving person, and he helped all people. Matt would've wanted the best for all of us and not be so filled with hatred and not forgiving," said Stephen Hersl, victim's brother.

The State's Attorney's Office says despite the plea deal, it will prepare for trial.

Johnson was facing charges of vehicular manslaughter and drug offenses that together carried a maximum sentence of 21 years in prison.

Hersl's family initially did not want Johnson to get a plea deal but changed their minds last week, saying they did not want to be a part of the legal process any longer.

Hersl was a longtime finance officer worker and Little Italy Neighborhood Association leader.

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