An up-and-coming Miami pop singer with slick looks and a Sony recording contract has been charged with vehicular homicide in a horrific hit-and-run crash near Key Biscayne yesterday.
Carlos Bertonatti, a 28-year-old who lives on Key Biscayne, was arrested yesterday near his battered Volkswagen after a short police chase.
Police say Bertonatti was drunk when he slammed into Christoper Lecanne, a 44-year-old South Miami cyclist, then sped away with Lecanne's bike lodged under his front fender as the biker lay bleeding to death next to the road.
Miami cyclists today have flooded websites with comments slamming the singer and rescue units, which witnesses said took 20 minutes to arrive from Miami instead of from the nearby Key Biscayne fire house.
Bertonatti released his first album for Sony, Times Are Good, in 2008. You can check out his MySpace profile here, and his Rolling Stone artist's page here. His MySpace page has drawn more than 300,000 hits.
Here's what happened on Sunday, according to police:
Just before 8:10 a.m., Lecanne was biking in the eastbound bike lane on the Bear Cut Bridge, the last link on the Rickenbacker before Key Biscayne. Bertonatti was driving eastbound as well when he swerved into the bike lane and slammed into Lecanne.
Bertonatti kept speeding east with Lecanne's bike lodged under his car, says Det. Rebecca Perez, a spokeswoman for the Miami Dade Police Department.
A Key Biscayne officer tried to stop Bertonatti just after he crossed the bridge, Perez says, but he sped away.
Finally, the singer stopped on the 600 block of Grapetree Drive, near the posh apartment where he's listed as a resident. Police arrested him on the spot.
On the Miami Bike Scene blog, witnesses say that medics didn't arrive for more than 20 minutes after the accident while Lecanne bled profusely.
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Perez tells Riptide that Miami Dade dispatchers received a call about the accident at 8:08 a.m., and that the first officers arrived at 8:13 a.m.
But it's not clear when ambulances first arrived. The Miami Dade Fire Department's offices are closed for MLK Day, so no one has responded to our calls about when Lecanne finally received medical attention.
Bertonatti, meanwhile, looks to have thrown a promising career out the window. Accordnig to his Myspace bio, he was born in Caracas and spent time training with the Argentine Ski Team before moved to Miami in his late teens to work with Chris Rodriguez, a multi-platinum local producer.
He signed with Epic Records and Sony ATV back in 2008 to release his debut album.