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Sentencing postponed in hit-and-run that killed cyclist on Rickenbacker Causeway

The sentencing for the man who pleaded guilty to hitting two cyclists on the Rickenbacker Causeway and leaving the scene has been rescheduled for Jan. 16. The later date was chosen to accommodate the defendant, the family of the victim and Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge William Thomas.

Judge Thomas was out earlier this month for a family emergency. He has also been nominated to become a federal judge in South Florida and is awaiting his Senate hearing.

In February, Michele Traverso, 26, was traveling north on the William Powell Bridge in his Honda when he hit Aaron Cohen and cycling partner Enda Walsh. Traverso left the scene.

Both cyclists were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Cohen died hours later.

Surveillance video and bar receipts show Traverso, who was on probation for cocaine charges, buying alcohol in Coconut Gove before driving home. He turned himself in to Miami Dade police the following day, but it was too late for a blood test to determine if he’d been drinking.

He pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident involving a death, leaving the scene of an accident with great bodily harm and driving with a suspended license. He faces a minimum 22.8 months, maximum 35 years in prison.

Cohen’s wife Patty, who was in court on Wednesday, said her husband was “a positive, loving person,” especially with their two young children. She said the family is leaving the sentencing decision up to the state prosecutor, but hopes that it will be severe enough to “send a message as a deterrent for similar crimes.”