WEST OCEAN CITY – One local man is dead and another faces serious charges including negligent homicide by motor vehicle after a hit-and-run accident on the Route 50 Bridge early last Friday morning.
Around 2:26 a.m. last Friday, Maryland State Police troopers were dispatched to the span known locally as the Harry Kelley Memorial Bridge for a hit-and-run accident involving a motor vehicle and two bicyclists. The investigation revealed a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado driven by Daniel M. Bren, 34, of Berlin, was traveling westbound in the far right lane of the bridge when it struck two bicyclists who were riding in the roadway from behind.
The two victims, identified as Edward Joseph Zisk, 41, and Maxim Matuzov, 20, both of Ocean City, were ejected from their bicycles. Matuzov sustained non-life threatening injuries and was transported to PRMC for treatment. His condition remains unknown this week. Zisk, however, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Bren continued west across the bridge after the collision and was later apprehended after an alleged high-speed attempt to flee the scene. A taxicab with a fare was crossing the bridge at the same time and the driver and the customer witnessed the collision. The witness riding in the taxi said this week the cab driver made a remark about the two bicyclists riding in the travel lanes of the bridge and flashed her lights to let them know she was coming up behind them in the left-hand lane.
Moments later, the Chevrolet Silverado, driven by Bren, passed the taxi in the right lane and struck the two victims from behind, according to the witness.
“We saw the bikes and then we saw the truck come up from behind and pass us,” the witness, who preferred to remain anonymous, said this week. “I heard this massive crunching sound and when I looked over, I realized the truck had hit the two guys on bikes.”
The cab driver called 911 and pursued the suspect as he continued on across the bridge after the collision. The witness in the cab said the driver stayed on the line with the police dispatcher as she pursued the Silverado across the bridge and onto Route 50. Bren then made a right turn on Golf Course Rd. and continued on, at which point one of bikes that had been run over blew out from beneath the truck. The second bike dislodged from under the truck further down Golf Course Rd., according to the witness.
The taxi cab driver with the witness still in tow pursued Bren down Golf Course Rd. while providing continual updates to police. According to the witness, Bren turned left on Center Drive and accelerated at a high rate of speed. The cab driver continued to pursue the suspect, but lost sight of him before she reached Keyser Point Rd.
“We were keeping up with him for a while, but by the time we got to Keyser Point, we had lost him,” said the witness this week. “We got to Keyser Point and looked left and right, but there was no sign of him anywhere.”
A short time later, Maryland State Police troopers contacted the cab driver and told her the suspect had been stopped on westbound Route 50 near the WAC Center. Police advised the cab driver and her fare to proceed to the arrest site to identify the truck and the suspect. At the scene of the stop, Bren was administered field sobriety tests and was found to be operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, according to police reports.
Bren was arrested and charged with numerous criminal and traffic charges including negligent homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence and negligent homicide while impaired, along with negligent manslaughter by motor vehicle, driving while intoxicated, and failure to remain at the scene of a accident involving the death of another.
Bren was taken before a District Court Commissioner, who ordered him held on a $100,000 bond and he was released later in the day after posting the bond. A preliminary court date has been set for July 27.
The Maryland State Police CRASH team responded to the collision scene and assisted with the investigation. Also assisting at the scene were the Ocean City Police Department, the Ocean City Fire Department and the State Highway Administration.
The tragedy marked the second death of the bicyclist on resort area roadways in three days. On the Tuesday afternoon preceding the fatal accident on the bridge, a recent Pennsylvania college graduate living in Ocean City for the summer was struck and killed as she attempted to cross Coastal Highway from east to west on her bicycle at 33rd Street. Last Friday’s accident also marked the second fatality on the Route 50 bridge thus far this early summer.
On May 16, a local teen attempting to cross the bridge near its western terminus was struck and killed by a suspected drunk driver after allegedly falling into the path of the vehicle.