Motorist in Key Biscayne DUI hit-and-run to plead guilty

 

dovalle@MiamiHerald.com

Carlos Bertonatti, the Key Biscayne man accused of killing a cyclist in a drunk-driving hit-and-run crash, will plead guilty.

The 32-year-old one-time aspiring musician told a Miami-Dade judge on Tuesday that he plans to plead guilty for the January 2010 wreck that claimed the life of Christophe LeCanne.

Bertonatti faces a minimum of 11.56 years in prison, and a max of up to 35 years behind bars.

He will plead guilty directly to the court, with no plea offer. The plea was delayed until Feb. 19 so that LeCanne’s relatives can fly into Miami from France.

Circuit Judge Bronwyn Miller will sentence Bertonatti, who is charged with DUI manslaughter, fleeing and eluding, leaving the scene of an accident and resisting arrest without violence.

Miami-Dade prosecutors say that Bertonatti struck LeCanne from behind on the Bear Cut Bridge after swerving into the eastbound bicycle lane about 8 a.m. Bertonatti then sped off, the victim’s bicycle still wedged under his car, until he reached the village of Key Biscayne, where he was arrested.

His blood alcohol level was .122, well over the legal limit , authorities said.

His death — and that of cyclist Aaron Cohen on the Rickenbacker Causeway in February 2010 — prompted calls for safety from Miami’s avid cycling community.

Motorist Michele Traverso killed Cohen and injured another cyclist, then left the scene. He called his lawyer and turned himself the next day, too late for police to test his blood for alcohol.

Traverso pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident involving a fatality, which carried a maximum sentence of 30 years behind bars.

In a decision that outraged Cohen’s supporters and family, a Miami-Dade judge sentenced Traverso to just over the minimum mandatory sentence of 22.6 months behind bars, the remaining 364 days to be completed in the county jail.

Bertonatti’s court date Tuesday also comes one month after a 20-year-old bartender fatally struck a South Beach chef walking to his job at the Shore Club hotel. She too fled the scene, police said, but was arrested after a good Samaritan followed her and alerted officers.

Karlie Tomica’s blood alcohol level was a staggering .225 two hours after the crash. She will likely be formally charged with DUI manslaughter next week, as well as leaving the scene of an accident with a fatality.

The family of Stefano Riccioletti, the chef killed in the Collins Avenue accident, has filed suit against Tomica and the nightclub where she worked.

Read more Top Stories stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
A large Goliath grouper nestled into the Bonaire shipwreck off Jupiter.

    OUTDOORS

    Outdoors feature: Goliath groupers make recovery but harvest remains on hold

    Dropping into the roiled, murky waters 60 feet deep off Jupiter Inlet on Monday, I heard the annual spawning aggregation of Goliath groupers before I actually saw it. Below me, I could barely make out the wreck of the MG 111 or the mottled, gentle giants that show up each year between late July and mid-October to keep their species going. But the Goliaths already had seen our group of divers and weren’t too happy about our visit. They emitted loud, bass booming noises that sound a little like gun reports – probably to alert each other and to warn us not to get too cozy.

  •  
Moye

    ‘Tortured’ Broward preteen went from 115 pounds to 56 at death

    A police report filed in the death of Tamiyah Audain says she wasted away amid neglect by her caregiver, caseworker and 2 psychologists.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">Therapeutic art forms:</span> Inmate Sandra Sysyn, center, plays the guitar and sings with other inmates in the ArtSpring class at the Homestead Correctional Facility. Top, inmate Deidre Hunt, performs a dance in the class.

    Prison life

    An art program in Miami women’s prison gives inmates moments of escapism

    At a Homestead women’s prison, long-running ArtSpring program frees inmates to reflect through poetry, music and more.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category