Update: The cyclist killed this morning has been identified as Walter Reyes. His cycling partner, Henry Hernandez, is in serious condition at a local hospital. Police say the driver fled the scene but later returned, and investigators are looking into whether he was intoxicated.
For cyclists around South Florida, this morning's news feed reads like a déjà vu nightmare. This morning, yet another cyclist has been killed by yet another hit-and-run driver on the bridge linking Virginia Key, Key Biscayne, and downtown Miami.
The latest death comes just months after a statewide law went into effect stiffening penalties for drivers who flee a fatal crash. It's called the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act, and it's named for the last cyclist who lost his life to a hit-and-run driver on the Rickenbacker Causeway.
Details are still thin on this morning's fatal crash, but WSVN reports that two cyclists were hit around 5:30 this morning on the eastbound lanes near Crandon Park Marina.
One of those riders was pronounced dead on the scene, and another was taken to a local hospital.
Though the driver fled the scene, WSVN reports that one man is now in custody over the crash.
— Sheldon Fox-7 News (@fox_sheldon) January 21, 2015
— Kelly Blanco (@KellyNBC6) January 21, 2015
A Miami-Dade Police spokeswoman tells New Times that investigators are still headed to the scene and that official information about the fatal crash won't be available until later this morning. We'll update this post when we learn more.
As for the driver, he or she will now be looking at a tougher sentence over the crash thanks to local cycling activists outraged by the death of Aaron Cohen.
Cohen, the father of two young children, was killed in 2012 by 25-year-old Michele Traverso, who fled and didn't turn himself in for 18 hours. By then, proving he was driving while intoxicated was impossible, and he faced only charges for leaving the scene of a fatal accident. That garnered him less than two years in jail. (However, he recently received a new sentence by violating his house arrest.)
Activists outraged at that sentence went to Tallahassee last year and got the Cohen law passed, which ups minimum penalties for drivers who flee fatal crashes. The law looks to get an early test in this morning's case.
Update: Miami Bike Scene has identified the cyclist killed this morning as Walter Reyes:
R.I.P. Walter Reyes, the bicyclist struck and killed by hit-n-run driver on the Rickenbacker this morning pic.twitter.com/HWYjOsZtKV
— The Miami Bike Scene (@MiamiBikeScene) January 21, 2015
New Times has asked for confirmation from MDPD but the department declined to release any more details about the crash.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.