A Maryland man admitted to News4 he was drinking alcohol before he struck and injured a Maryland State Police trooper stopped on the side of the Beltway early Tuesday morning.
"I was drunk but OK to drive," said 42-year-old Franklin Hernandez of Hyattsville.
Hernandez told News4's Chris Gordon he drank five beers in about 30 minutes.
A 2005 Chevrolet Equinox driven by Hernandez struck 30-year-old Corporal Brian Hirsch at about 2 a.m. while he was standing on the right shoulder of the Inner Loop, police said.
He and another trooper had been conducting a vehicle search on the Beltway near the Greenbelt Metro station; the two troopers had parked on the shoulder with emergency lights on.
Hernandez initially failed to stop, but pulled over a short distance later, police said in a press release. He told News4's Chris Gordon he thought he hit the car, not the trooper.
"He was demonstrating some indications that he was impaired," Maryland State Police Sgt. Marc Black Sr. said.
He was charged with violations of the move over law as well as driving under the influence, failing to stop after a collision involving injury and negligent driving.
"I am so sorry about that and so embarrassed," Hernandez said. "Believe me if I can do something, I will."
Hirsch, an 11-year veteran of the force, is recovering.
The crash brings new attention to Maryland's "move over" law. That law, which took effect in October 2010 but has seen increased enforcement this summer, requires drivers approaching an emergency vehicle parked in the emergency lane to move over at least one full lane if possible.
In October 2013, the law was expanded to include tow truck drivers as well as police, fire and other emergency workers.