Michele Traverso Pleads Guilty to Rickenbacker Hit-and-Run That Left Bicyclist Dead

Michele Traverso has plead guilty to charges related to a hit-and-run accident on the Rickenbacker that left bicyclist Aaron Cohen for dead. Traverso could face a maximum of 35 years in prison.

Traverso, 25, was driving in a late-model silver Honda at around 6 a.m. on February 15 when he hit Cohen and a fellow bicyclist, Edna Welsh. After the accident Traverso sped off, but turned himself in about 18 hours later.

Both bikers were transported to the hospital. Welsh sustained a sprained ankle, but Cohen suffered a severe head injury. He died shortly after the crash. Cohen was a father to two young children, an experienced cyclist, and an Ironman competitor.

"He was the kind of son that every father dreams about," Cohen's father told a local television station shortly after the accident. "Everybody loves him, he's just special."

According to the Miami Herald, Traverso pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident involving a death, leaving the scene of an accident with great bodily harm, driving with a suspended license, and cocaine possession (though his drug tests after the incident came up negative). He will be sentenced next month, and could face as little 22.8 months in prison and as much 35 years.

Cohen's death as well as a string of other accidents involving bicyclists have renewed calls for better safety conditions along the causeway. The Village of Key Biscayne's latest idea is to erect a wall separating cyclists from cars. A toll on bicyclists could be levied to pay for the wall.

As for Carlos Bertonatti, the aspiring singer who, like Traverso, is accused of drunkenly killing a biker on the Rickenbacker then speeding away -- he's still awaiting trail.

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