Hit-and-run victim sits in court as college student faces judge
Trial date set for Alejandro Alvarez
MIAMI – A 21-year-old man accused of causing a crash that killed a bicyclist and injured another on the Rickenbacker Causeway last month was in court Friday as his lawyers pleaded not guilty on his behalf.
Alejandro Alvarez has been out of jail on bond since the Jan. 21 crash that killed Walter Reyes, 49, and sent Henry Hernandez, 40, to Mercy Hospital.
Hernandez sat in a wheelchair inside the courtroom during Alvarez's arraignment.
Alvarez, who attends the University of Maryland, was ordered to surrender his passport and must return to court next week to be fitted for an ankle monitor.
Miami-Dade police said Alvarez was driving a 2014 Volkswagen Jetta, registered in his father's name, when the car drifted into the bicycle lane.
Reyes and Hernandez were riding their bicycles when they were struck by the car. Police said Alvarez then fled the scene.
According to the arrest report, Alvarez returned to the scene about 20 minutes later.
"It was me," Alvarez told police as he got out of the car, according to the report. "I was the one that was involved in the accident. I was scared and I fled. I drove down to Harbor Drive, parked my vehicle and called my mother."
An officer noticed a strong smell of an alcoholic beverage emanating from Alvarez's breath, bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech and that Alvarez was "hysterically crying," the report said.
Alvarez told police he was out with friends at a club in Miami Beach. He had left about 2:45 a.m. to take his friends home and returned to the club by himself.
About 4:30 a.m., Alvarez left the club and drove to his parents' home in Key Biscayne. Alvarez told police as he drove through the curve on Crandon Boulevard, he was changing a song on his iPhone that was connected to the car and looked away from the roadway, the report said.
Alvarez told police he struck the bicyclists and kept driving, the report said.
Once he arrived home, Alvarez attempted to fake a robbery by smashing the rear window of the Volkswagen with golf clubs from his parents' home, police said. Alvarez told police he couldn't do it and called 911, telling them that he had just struck a pedestrian and wanted to know if he should return to the scene, the report said. Police said he was instructed to do so and turn himself in to police.
"Ali and his family are absolutely devastated by what has happened," Alvarez's attorney, David Markus, told Local 10 News. "We really don't have words to express how sorry he is and his family is. Words don't do it justice."
Three years ago, Aaron Cohen was killed in a hit-and-run crash on the Rickenbacker Causeway. His widow, Patti Cohen, sat in court with Hernandez.
"I am so angry that this could even happen again," she told Local 10.
Alvarez's trial was set for May 26.
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