MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Even by his own attorney’s admission, the court system initially gave Michele Traverso an amazing opportunity.
He served two-thirds of a 364 day prison sentence for leaving the accident scene after hitting husband and father Aaron Cohen, as he cycled on the Rickenbacker Causeway two years ago.
But in front of Judge William Thomas Monday morning, Traverso’s luck ran out.
“Those opportunities only come by once, and the chance of them coming by again are slim to none and it’s not going to happen today,” Judge Thomas told Traverso during his court hearing.
Traverso admitted he violated the terms of his probation and broke curfew by leaving his Key Biscayne condominium at 5AM on Saturday, December 6th. His probation officer busted him.
“He sees this defendant jumping a fence, jumping a bush. He admits he was on the beach with a girlfriend and his parents would not allow her in the condo so he was out on the beach,” the prosecutor said in court.
Defense attorney Ray de la Cabada admits Traverso messed up.
“There are conjugal visits in prison. He was in his house, he went a matter of yards from where he was supposed to be to be with a woman.”
The Judge granted the State’s request for the violation, appearing to put Traverso in tears. He buried his head in his hands when he heard the sentence for the probation violation.
“The Court is going to sentence you to 48 months in state prison with all credit for time served, and revoke probation. Good luck to you sir,” said Judge Thomas.
Traverso’s friend Franky Faze called the sentence unfair.
“I do know that he’s been rehabilitated and it’s very wrong to sentence a man whose been rehabilitated and corrected his wrongs.”
Aaron Cohen’s widow Patty has worked to toughen the mandatory sentence for drivers who leave the scene of deadly accidents. The news that Traverso now has a new sentence came as sweet relief, once she got over the shock.
“You’d think it would be pretty simple to just stay at home when you’re supposed to be at home. You’re a grown man, and you’ve got so many breaks from the system. How do you violate that? I was appalled…I do think it sends a very strong message and ideally no one will have to go through this again.”
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