Cyclist Hit by Car, Thrown to Death Off Julia Tuttle Causeway

Miami's dire record of fatal incidents involving cyclists added another deadly incident last night. A man on a bicycle crossing the Julia Tuttle Causeway was hit by a car, flew off his bike, and plunged to his death in Biscayne Bay around 11 o'clock last night.

The driver — who stayed at the scene — told Miami Fire-Rescue officials that she was trying to avoid another vehicle before hitting the cyclist. "She said she was swerving out of the way when she hit the cyclist," Capt. Ignatius Carroll, a Miami Fire-Rescue spokesman, tells New Times.

Investigators are still on the scene and so far haven't released the name of the victim. Carroll says the man was in his 20s and was biking eastbound on the bridge when the car hit him.

The driver called 911, and after a two-hour search, Miami Fire-Rescue found the man's body in Biscayne Bay.   

The driver — identified by CBS4 as 28-year-old Eltrisa McDaniel — was taken to the hospital for minor injuries. "Her nerves were more traumatized by what she'd seen than any serious physical injuries," Carroll says.

Florida Highway Patrol has now taken over the investigation and will decide whether anyone involved in the accident will face charges, Carroll says. (An FHP spokesman hasn't returned New Times' call this morning to comment on the case.)

The death is just the latest in a long string of fatal cyclist incidents. In January, Walter Reyes was killed by a hit-and-run driver on the Rickenbacker Causeway — the same road where a series of high-profile deadly crashes has happened, beginning with the 2013 death of Christophe LeCanne by a drunken hit-and-run driver, a death that sparked a new state law with tougher penalties in such cases.
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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink