The Miami-Dade County Commission adopted a resolution today calling for stronger state penalties for drivers who flee the scene of a car crash. The resolution, approved unanimously, was offered by Commissioner Jose Diaz. It is the latest response to the 364-day jail sentence handed Michele Traverso for killing bicyclist Aaron Cohen with his car on the Rickenbacker Causeway early last year.
When Traverso struck Cohen and his riding buddy, he was on his way home to Key Biscayne after a night out with pals in Coconut Grove. The crash happened at about 5:30 a.m., shortly the bar-closing hour in the Grove. Traverso wasn’t checked for intoxication, though, because his identity was unknown to police until hours later — by which time his body would have processed any alcohol in his blood.
He did plead guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, and apologized tearfully to Cohen’s family at his sentencing in January. Circuit Judge William Thomas heeded the family’s request that Traverso be allowed to serve time in jail instead of a state prison in order that he be close to his longtime Miami physician. The doctor testified that Traverso has a rare hereditary ailment that can make him dangerously ill with little warning.