MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A memorial bike ride to remember a cyclist killed in a hit and run crash on the Rickenbacker Causeway was held Saturday on the bridge where he died.
Friends, family and supporters of Aaron Cohen met on the bridge to hold the Ride For Safety at 9 a.m. The eastbound lanes of the causeway were temporarily shut down while the ride took place. A memorial ceremony at the top of the William Powell Bridge was held, followed by a ride to the Key Biscayne Fire Station.
“My only wish is that perhaps somehow this tragedy will make motorists aware of cyclists on the road and cyclists safer and I hope that will happen for Aaron and in Aaron’s memory,” said mother Lynn Cohen.
“This is what brings us together and I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that Aaron Cohen would be so humbled,” said father Stephen Cohen. “He did some remarkable things and that’s what we have to remember I just hope his children can remember the little time they had with him.”
Cohen was killed and his friend Enda Walsh was injured when a car struck them early Wednesday morning as they were cycling in the northbound lanes near the crest of the bridge. Cohen was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital in critical condition, and passed away Thursday morning. Walsh suffered a broken leg.
“I’m fine. I feel very uncomfortable people asking me how I am because it’s not about me I was very lucky this is about Aaron and his wife and kids. That’s what it’s all about. The story is about two little kids growing up without a father,” said Walsh. “All he did was get up in the morning and go for a bike ride then he just doesn’t come home.”
The man suspected in the hit and run, Michale Traverso, 25, was charged Thursday with leaving the scene of an accident causing serious bodily injury, and driving with a suspended license. Additional charges are pending and could include leaving the scene of a fatal accident and possibly vehicular manslaughter. He turned himself in to police 18 hours after the accident.
Traverso is on probation for a previous drug charge. At his court appearance Friday, Traverso voluntarily submitted to a drug test, which he passed.
Despite passing the drug test, the judge booted Traverso from the court-ordered and ordered him held without bond for 21 days until his arraignment because he violated his probation on the previous drug charge.
Traverso’s attorney, Ramon de la Cabada, said his client is remorseful for fleeing the scene of the fatal accident.
“I can’t begin to express how horrible my client and his family feels over this,” said de la Cabada.
When asked, however, where his client was prior to the accident and whether he had been drinking, the attorney refused to answer.
Using debris from the accident scene, investigators were able to determine the make of the car and found it parked in a Key Biscayne condo parking lot covered with a tarp. Sources tell CBS4 Traverso may have turned himself in after seeing police inspect his car, which he can see from the window of his condo unit.
Miami traffic homicide Detective Lorraine Rubio, the lead investigator on the case, said it was a wonder Traverso could drive away from the scene, drunk or sober.
“He should not have been able to see outside that windshield, absolutely,” Rubio said. Video of the car shows the windshield shattered and rendered virtually opaque.
Last May, Traverso was charged with possession of cocaine. In 2009, he was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana.