MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami driver involved in a hit-and-run case with a cyclist on the Rickenbacker Causeway pleaded guilty with no plea deal.
Michele Traverso pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident involving a death, leaving the scene of an accident with great bodily harm, driving with a suspended license, and a cocaine possession charge, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald.
“It’s always been Michele intention when he surrendered to not fight this. He’s never denied that this whole moment did not take place and what his role was,” said Traverso’s attorney Ramon De La Cabada. “He’s been suffering from this, as anyone would, who causes the death of a kind man, a father of two children. He is going to have to live with that the rest of his life.”
Traverso hit and killed Aaron Cohen and injured cycling partner Enda Walsh as both rode northbound on the Rickenbacker Causeway in February.
Traverso left the scene and didn’t turn himself into police until 18 hours later. That made it hard for investigators to prove his blood alcohol level was above the legal limit, despite reports he was drinking in Coconut Grove the night of the accident, according to the Herald.
“To my knowledge he’s never expressed any remorse. This is not a young kid who made a mistake. This is a guy with a prior drug conviction. A guy who ran,” said Walsh over the phone to CBS4’s David Sutta. “He can send a message that you are going to be punished severely or that he is going to reward running and hiding because that is what Traverso did.”
Investigators said Traverso somehow managed to drive his heavily damaged car to his Key Biscayne condo where he covered it with a tarp after the accident.
Cohen’s family has filed a lawsuit against Traverso and his father Juan Manuel Traverso, who owned the car Michele was driving at the time of the crash.
According to the Herald, Traverso faces a prison sentence ranging from 22.8 months to a max of 35 years.