An attorney representing the taxicab driver who struck and killed a man at a downtown Miami intersection early Thursday morning, said his client drove home and wasn’t even aware the vehicle had hit anything.
“He had no concept that he hit a person at the time,” said attorney Michael Kaufman. “He went home and went to sleep.”
Police and a witness said the cabbie was driving his vehicle through an intersection at Biscayne Boulevard and Fourth Street in front of Bayside Marketplace at 1:35 a.m. Thursday, when the vehicle struck and killed a man.
A witness and Kaufman said the cab driver for Miami-Dade Taxi was driving a yellow Crown Victoria through the intersection while the light was green. Police have not named the cab driver or the dead man, who is described as being in his 60s. They said he’s from Miami but doesn’t have any family here.
Manuel Ibanez told Miami Herald news partner CBS 4 that the impact sounded like a twig snapping.
“It was horrible,’’ he said. “I was walking north and a taxicab that was going northbound had the green light, had the right of way, and a gentleman walking across the street, he hit him and kept going. And pretty much the guy is dead in the middle of the road. The officer tried CPR but he was gone.”
Despite the contact, the cab driver continued north on Biscayne, then went home. Kaufman said after his client fell asleep, cab company workers called and informed him that police were looking for him. So he drove to Kaufman’s office at Biscayne Boulevard and 119th Street, where police found the vehicle shortly after 5 p.m.
They spent hours investigating the vehicle and retrieving forensics.
After the crash, police released the cab’s number and its license plate to the public in hope that someone would spot the vehicle. They also retrieved video that showed the cab heading north on the boulevard, but not striking the man.
As of Friday afternoon, the cab driver had not been charged with a crime or issued a citation. Kaufman, who said he was waiting to talk to detectives, said his client has a clean driver’s license and no prior arrests. He said he has two children and a wife. The attorney said there was not extensive damage to the vehicle, just a dent in the hood.
Kaufman called the man’s death unfortunate, but said he didn’t believe his client did anything wrong.
“I just think he’ll be vindicated,” said the attorney.