Michele Traverso, Hit-And-Run Driver Who Killed Cyclist Aaron Cohen, Won't Face DUI Charge UPDATED

Categories: Bike Blog, Crime
micheletrav.jpg
Michele Traverso
The facts seem pretty clear: On Feb. 15, Michele Traverso, a 25-year-old with a suspended license, slammed into two cyclists on the Rickenbacker Causeway after he'd spent a long night drinking in Coconut Grove. Traverso then sped away, leaving one of the cyclists, Aaron Cohen, a father of two, dying on the roadside.

Given all that -- and the fact that security video at his apartment shows him wobbling out of his car -- you'd think Traverso would face DUI manslaughter charges. But you'd be wrong. CBS4 reports that Traverso has escaped the most serious possible charge because police couldn't get a blood-alcohol test until it was too late.

Traverso still faces charges of causing serious bodily harm, leaving the scene of an accident, and driving on a suspended license -- all of which could bring a maximum of 15 years in jail, CBS4 writes.

But a DUI manslaughter conviction could have brought double that.

The problem is that Traverso managed to evade police for a full 12 hours after the accident. By the time they hauled him in, it was too late for a blood test to determine how drunk he'd been the night before.

(Contrast Traverso's scenario with that of fellow accused Rickenbacker hit-and-runner Carlos Bertonatti who led police on a brief chase before they strapped him to a stretcher to forcibly extract blood to use as evidence. Bertonatti will face DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide charges, assuming his case ever starts -- it's been delayed nine times. Supposedly it'll get underway June 11.)

Police did manage to construct some damning circumstantial evidence that Traverso was drunk when he killed Cohen and seriously injured another cyclist, Enda Walsh.

Witnesses place him at Coconut Grove's Greenstreet Cafe until early in the morning and receipts show alcohol was purchased, CBS4 reports. His apartment's security footage also seems to show him drunk once he gets home after the accident.

But without a BAC test, prosecutors have reportedly decided not to proceed with the DUI manslaughter case. A drug test on Traverso -- who had previously been convicted on cocaine and marijuana charges -- also came back clean.

Riptide has requested a comment from State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle's office about the report; we'll update when we hear back.

Traverso's trial doesn't yet have a start date filed in the court dockets.

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17 comments
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Bribes being paid?
Bribes being paid?

How much money is Club Space paying Miami cops to allow it to operate illegally?

Stimpy3186
Stimpy3186

 i am a south miami local and i have seen this man several times at a nearby bar. don't the police look at credit card activity to prove he was at a bar drinking that night? I assume they have ruled that out? It just seems hard to believe that he is getting away with this.

Dan
Dan

 "Cohen then sped away, leaving one of the cyclists, Aaron Cohen, a father of two, dying on the roadside.

Given all that -- and the fact that security video at his apartment shows him wobbling out of his car -- you'd think Cohen would face DUI manslaughter charges."

Please correct this - Cohen was the victim, Traverso was the driver!

Tim Elfrink
Tim Elfrink

It's fixed. Apologies for the typo, everyone.

Dannyabull
Dannyabull

It's not fixed!!!! Please read!!!

guest
guest

The article still says "Cohen then sped away, leaving one of the cyclists, Aaron Cohen, a father of two, dying on the roadside."  

Please fix the typo.  

Jeebus
Jeebus

So where are our outraged legislators? It's time to change the friggin laws in Florida! Flee an accident resulting in the death of a human being? Slam, you go to jail for 25years. Who gives a shit if you were drunk. You killed someone and you didn't stick around? Guilty.

RL
RL

You need to edit this. Cohen was the vitim. He didn't speed away. PROOFREAD

Club Space?
Club Space?

Club Space customer? Amazing this creep is accused of drinking in Coconut Grove and NOT at Club Space. Usually the criminals who kill innocents are Club Space customers.

Ahernandez
Ahernandez

I really hate when the media reports these stories.  They're basically telling everyone that drives drunk to flee until the alcohol is out of their system.  That way they can avoid a harder sentence.  Well Done.

Jerkface
Jerkface

Ridiculous, basically rewarding him for fleeing the scene of the MURDER.

seep
seep

there is a type of blood test that can detect alcohol use up to about 80 hours after drinking.  Ethanol has a metabolite--acetaldehyde--with a much-longer half life.  Maybe it's time for cities to invest in these tests?

Er
Er

Unless the test can pinpoint the time of consumption, what prevents the defendants lawyer from arguing that his client had been drinking 48 hours before the accident.

Guest
Guest

If Fernandez-Rundle's office can't do their job, I hope someone hires Jeff Gillooly to do his.

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