Miami-Dade Commissioners Unanimously Approve Stricter Hit-And-Run Sentencing (UPDATED)

04/01/2013 10:13 am ET | Updated Apr 02, 2013

Nine-year-old Jacari Wilson was one of the lucky ones. On March 24 when a South Florida driver ran into him while he was skateboarding, he survived suffering a fractured jaw after landing on the van's windshield.

His message to the driver who left him for dead? "You should go to jail."

Miami-Dade County had an average of 35 hit-and-runs a day in 2012, and those drivers don't always face consequences appropriate to the severity of their crime.

Take Michele Traverso who killed cyclist Aaron Cohen in Key Biscayne and fled the scene back in February 2012.

Police were able to trace a damaged car to Traverso and despite his lengthy rap sheet of bad driving violations -- and receipts that indicate he'd been drinking -- Traverso was sentenced to a mere 364 days in jail. The 12-hour delay in his arrest because he drove away was reportedly too late to obtain blood alcohol evidence needed for a DUI conviction.

It cites the fact that Dade had the most hit-and-runs in Florida, a state that has a maximum of 30 years prison time for leaving the scene of a crash but no minimum.

The resolution asks the Florida legislature to make it a second-degree felony with a seven-year minimum sentence for leaving an accident that results in injury.

If the crash is fatal, a minimum of ten years is proposed. It also eliminates probation as an alternative to imprisonment.

The resolution, sponsored by Jose "Pepe" Diaz, expresses the hope that stricter sentencing will deter drivers from fleeing the scene while another individual lays dying in the street.

Just last week, in a particularly brutal hit-and-run, Alejandro Hermis was killed while riding his bike in North Miami-Dade. The driver reportedly got out twice to try to dislodge Hermis's crumpled body from beneath his vehicle so that he could eventually speed away unencumbered.

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