Driver who hit man on bus bench and fled, had 104 used ‘whippets’ in his car, cops say

Rodrigo Delatorre
Rodrigo Delatorre Miami-Dade Corrections

A man who is on probation for cocaine possession had 104 used “whippet” (nitrous oxide) cartridges in his car when he slammed into a 63-year-old sitting at a Liberty City bus bench and then took off, according to a Miami police report.

Rodrigo Delatorre, 36, was arrested shortly after the Wednesday afternoon crash with the help of witnesses, police said. Delatorre was charged with leaving the scene of a crash with serious bodily harm, two counts of leaving the scene of an accident with property damage and a probation violation. He was being held Thursday in Miami’s Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.

According to the report, Delatorre drove up on the sidewalk in the area of Northwest Seventh Avenue and 58th Street and hit the man at about 3 p.m. Police did not name the man.

Delatorre, who was driving a gray four-door Lexus, continued driving. Witnesses followed him, police said in the report.

Meanwhile, the man was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital where he was being treated for a broken pelvis and lacerated liver, according to the report.

Officers soon found Delatorre, who according to the report said his phone had dropped, so he bent down to get it and felt the car go on the curb.

“He stated he looked around and did not see a car or glass, just a tree,” an officer wrote. “He drove to the U-Haul parking lot to see his damages and that’s when police detained him.”

Police said that there was a whipped cream dispenser in “plain view” in the passenger side compartment. There were 104 used whippet (nitrous oxide) cartridges, eight unused cartridges and an empty dispenser with an empty cartridge attached, police said.

Whippets are often used to inhale the nitrous oxide gas, giving the user a high.

It was not immediately clear if he would face additional charges.

Records show Delatorre was sentenced to three years of probation in March for cocaine possession.

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.