Driver Charged In Fatal Hit-And-Run; Warrant Issued For Suspect

Veronika Badurova was a 21-year-old from Slovakia working in Ocean City.

OCEAN CITY — A Snow Hill man faces multiple charges in the fatal hit-and-run collision that claimed the life of a foreign seasonal worker from Slovakia last month.

Around 3 a.m. on Aug. 30, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to a reported hit-and-run collision involving a bicycle in the area of 2nd Street and Philadelphia Avenue. The bicyclist, later identified as Veronika Badurova, 21, of Slovakia, who was working on a J-1 visa in the resort area, was riding southbound on Philadelphia Avenue when she was struck by an SUV also traveling southbound.

The driver of the SUV, identified as Brooks T. Bratten, 38, of Snow Hill, failed to stop or remain at the scene. Badurova was transported to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in critical condition last Wednesday. Last Friday, she succumbed to injuries sustained in the hit-and-run collision.

A small memorial was placed at the Mystic Harbor community pool last weekend to remember Veronika Badurova. Submitted Photo

On Wednesday, the OCPD charged Bratten with multiple counts including two counts of failure to remain at the scene of a fatal traffic collision, two counts of failure to remain at the scene of a traffic collision causing bodily injury, failing to render aid following a traffic collision and negligent driving. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Badurova worked as a lifeguard at the pool in the Mystic Harbor community in West Ocean City during the summer. The popular lifeguard was described in social media posts as incredibly sweet and a hard worker who always had a smile. Residents in the community where she worked held a brief memorial service last weekend and her lifeguard chair was adorned with flowers and a candle and notes.

In the day or so after the incident, the local community began reaching out in support of the victim and her family. For example, the Ocean City Baptist Church, which supplies thousands of free meals and spiritual mentoring for foreign student workers who spend the summer in Ocean City, had a special offering last Sunday to help the victim’s family with lodging and food when they arrived in the U.S.

In addition, last Sunday the Alibi Room in downtown Ocean City held a well-attended special party in Badurova’s memory featuring music from her native Slovakia and collected donations to help with the family’s expenses after the tragic accident and raised over $700 in the process.

As of Thursday, Bratten had not been apprehended. According to his Facebook, he is a lead mechanic with a local construction company. Maryland court records indicate a number of previous incidents involving police and the court system. In January, he was cited in Ocean City for driving a motor vehicle while his license was suspended. In March, he was charged by Maryland State Police with malicious destruction of property over $1,000. He was expected to stand trial for that misdemeanor charge on Sept. 19. Court records also indicate several marijuana possession arrests and convictions in the past.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.