Man accused of killing taxi driver during possible robbery in Miami

Yosmel Manuel Gonzalez, 34, beat victim, dragged him with cab, police say

MIAMI – A Miami Beach man was arrested Monday in connection with the killing of a taxi driver in the city of Miami, authorities said.

According to an arrest report, Miami police were called to the area of Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast 48th Street just after 6 a.m. Jan. 18 in reference to a possible robbery.

Police said officers arrived at the scene and found the taxi driver, Joel Francois Bertresse, 64, unresponsive and lying facedown outside of the cab on the median of Biscayne Boulevard.

He was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center, where he was pronounced dead.

According to authorities, the suspect, Yosmel Manuel Gonzalez, 34, who is also known by the alias, Yosmel Puentes, walked from a hotel he was staying at to a 7-Eleven on Collins Avenue, where he was picked up by the victim.


Police said Bertresse pulled into a Publix parking lot on Biscayne Boulevard, where witnesses saw the two men arguing inside the cab.

A security guard told detectives he was patrolling the Publix supermarket when he saw Gonzalez punch the victim in the face.

The security guard said the victim struck Gonzalez back and a fight ensued.

According to the security guard, Gonzalez moved into the driver's seat as Bertresse got out and tried to pull Gonzalez out of the car.

Police said witnesses saw Gonzalez dragging the victim with the car as he put the car in reverse and began driving on Biscayne Boulevard.

According to the arrest report, Gonzalez crashed the taxi into a palm tree and ran off on Biscayne Boulevard.

Police said he tried to open the car doors of several vehicles that were heading south on Biscayne Boulevard, but he was unsuccessful.

Police said surveillance video shows him returning to his hotel a short time later.

Detectives interviewed Gonzalez Monday and he claimed he had gotten into an argument with the taxi driver over the cost of the ride, the arrest report stated.

Police said Gonzalez claimed Bertresse punched him and stabbed him in the mouth, although no visible injuries were seen on his mouth.

Authorities said Gonzalez also told detectives that a third person was inside the cab, but surveillance video clearly shows he and the driver were the only two people in the car.

Gonzalez claimed he ran away after the incident because he has a criminal record, police said.

Gonzalez was arrested on a second-degree murder charge. 

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