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Trial Date Set For Driver In Fatal Rickenbacker Hit & Run

MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- A July 9th trial date has been set for Michele Traverso who is charged with leaving the scene of an accident where cyclist Aaron Cohen was fatally injured in February on the Rickenbacker Causeway.

Monday in court, Cohen's family made it clear they want Traverso to face the maximum penalty of 30 years in prison for the deadly hit and run.

However, Judge William Thomas addressed Cohen's widow and asked that the family consider a plea deal with a reduced sentence.

The judge said it would be unlikely Traverso would receive the maximum punishment.

"Obviously this is very difficult for us, this is a very difficult time but I did appreciate what the judge said. I know understand that when it comes to trial we are going to have an opportunity to explain what an exceptional person he was," said Patty Cohen, Aaron's widow.

Aaron Cohen Bicyclist Struck
(Source: Anthony Gonzalez) A photo of Aaron Cohen who died in a hit and run accident on the Rickenbacker Causeway.

Police believe Traverso was intoxicated during the Feb. 15th crash that took Cohen's life.

Investigators said Traverso somehow managed to drive his heavily damaged car to his Key Biscayne condo where he covered it with a tarp.

He then waited more than 12 hours to surrender himself so police were unable to obtain blood alcohol evidence to support DUI manslaughter charge.

Traverso is facing a maximum 15 years in prison for leaving the scene of a fatal accident. If he were charged with DUI manslaughter as well, he would be looking at double that.

At the time of the hit and run, Traverso was participating in a court-ordered drug treatment program.


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