There will be no manslaughter charge for the driver who fatally struck and abandoned bicyclist Aaron Cohen on the Rickenbacker Causeway, according to CBSMiami.
Michele Traverso was reportedly at a bar in Coconut Grove before the deadly hit-and-run February 15. Miami police say the 25-year-old struck Cohen and fellow cyclist Enda Walsh around 6 a.m. as they pedaled eastbound on the Rickenbacker, then fled the scene.
Cohen, a 36-year-old married father of two, died just hours after Traverso turned himself into police following the discovery of his severely damaged car covered by a tarp in his Key Biscayne condo garage.
Traverso was initially charged with leaving the scene of an accident, causing serious bodily harm, and driving with a suspended license. Police said additional charges were pending, and CBS reports the case for DUI manslaughter appeared strong:
Sources tell CBS4 News receipts reveal alcohol was purchased. On security video at his condo, Traverso appeared unsteady on his feet minutes after the accident. A security guard told investigators that Traverso seemed inebriated and could barely walk.
But because Traverso waited nearly 12 hours to turn himself in -- after police discovered his damaged vehicle -- it was reportedly too late to obtain blood alcohol evidence. Traverso, who was participating in a court-ordered drug treatment at the time of the crash, submitted a clean drug test two days after the crash, according to WSVN.
The news he won't be charged with manslaughter is likely to rile Miami's bike community, which has long begged for better safety measures on the popular Rickenbacker Causeway Just over two years ago, Christophe LeCanne was killed when struck by aspiring Argentine musician Carlos Bertonatti, who led police on a brief chase with LeCanne's bicycle under his bumper.
Countless others have been injured, and frustration mounts that few, if any, of the safety measures cyclists have asked of Miami-Dade County have been implemented.
"How many more lives must we lose on the Rickebacker Causeway before the County Public Works Department does something to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians?" asked writer Felipe Azenha on the blog Transit Miami, while reposting an article from two years ago with safety recommendations he says have been ignored since LeCanne was killed.
"This is not rocket science. An unprotected bike lane adjacent to a highway with cars speeding in excess of 65 mph is simply NOT a good idea."
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