Early this morning, two bicyclists were ran over by a motor vehicle in Key Biscayne. Police has advised that the driver who struck the bicyclists fled the scene, yet investigators have since indicated that the alleged driver was currently in custody.
There are very few details to date about the incident other than it occurred at around 5:30 A.M. and that the fatally struck bicyclist was in the right lane of the Rickenbacker Causeway near Crandon Park Marina. The other bicyclist, whose health condition remains unknown, was transported by ambulance to the hospital. Both families have a civil claim against the driver, and any other potential and non-obvious defendants.
Sadly fatal accidents of bicyclists in Key Biscayne is nothing new to authorities and to our law firm. In 2012, Aaron Cohen was on his bicycle on the Rickenbacker Causeway with his friend Enda Welsh, when he was also struck by a motorist, Michele Traverso. Much like today’s incident, Traveso fled the scene only to surrender himself 18 hours later. By the time Traverso was in custody, police could no longer garner evidence that Traverso was intoxicated at the time of the incident, and therefore could not possibly charge him with a DUI. Traverso was ultimately sentenced for less than two years behind bar for leaving the scene of a fatal accident.
In January 2010, the same story again. Bicyclist Christophe Le Canne was killed while riding in Key Biscayne. The culprit was Carlos Bertonatti, a drunk driver who also fled the scene of his accident.
Unlike Bertonatti and Traveso however, the liable driver who fled the scene this morning will face much stronger criminal penalties for fleeing the scene of a fatal accident. In the wake of the death of Aaron Cohen, the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act was passed and came into effect on July 1, 2014.
The Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act imposes a four-year, mandatory-minimum prison term for a driver convicted of leaving a fatal crash. The new law added a three-year minimum driver license revocation for those convicted of the crime.
The new law was the legislator’s answer to the overwhelming support for tougher penalties from not only the local bicycling community, but the entire state’s population. Last year, the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) released statistics that lit a fire under the legislator to act at once. One of the telling statistics for South Florida: Almost 100 deaths in hit and run accidents.
For well-over 30 years, Leesfield Scolaro has taken on catastrophic and wrongful death cases throughout the Florida keys. In cases involving the death of an innocent person, a complete investigation must be conducted in order to find additional insurance coverage beyond the driver’s car insurance. Currently, Partner Thomas Scolaro is representing the family of, Christopher Dyko, a former NFL player who was killed while riding his bicycle in the Florida Keys last month.
Leesfield Scolaro has a strong track record for finding non-obvious sources of financial recovery for its clients. In Florida, most motorists have “full insurance coverage.” That common denomination is unfortunately much less than what people believe and it almost never enough to compensate victims when they sustain catastrophic injuries, or their families when the victim dies as a result of the accident.
Should you or a loved one have a claim for personal injury or wrongful death, contact Leesfield Scolaro at 305-854-4900.