Hit-and-run suspect tests negative for drugs

Suspect appears in court

By Constance Jones - Anchor

MIAMI - A man accused of hitting two cyclists with his car on the Rickenbacker Causeway and then driving away tested negative for drugs during a court hearing Friday morning. 

Michele Traverso was back in court on an unrelated drug charge from last year. 

Traverso passed a drug test Friday, which would have detected any drugs in his system during the past 30 days.

"There has been a lot of speculation about my client," said Traverso's attorney, Roman de la Cabada. "This is the best test, and he was perfectly clean." 

Although the test came back negative for drugs, it does not show if Traverso had alcohol in his system. 

"At some other future point, we're going to address all other matters. Unfortunately, I can't do a test to prove that he wasn't drinking now because it's not valid," De La Cabada said.

"The crime here is that he left the scene, which is inexcusable, but that's the crime, and I want everyone to remember that."

Miami police said it all happened early Wednesday morning. Enda Welsh and Aaron Cohen were riding their bikes east over the bridge when Traverso hit both men with his car, then drove away, left both men injured on the road, Miami police said.

Welsh fractured his ankle in the accident, but his friend had more serious injuries. Cohen died at Jackson Memorial Hospital a day after the incident. 

Traverso turned himself in to police Thursday. 

Detective Loraine Rubio was there at the crash scene and was also in court Friday morning. She said she is seeking the truth for a family who's dealing with a very difficult loss.  

"I would like to see that justice is served and that we have the right person who was behind the wheel," Rubio said.

Traverso's pending drug case has been transferred to another court, where a judge will handle both the new charges and the previous drug charges.

Traverso is set to appear in court again March 6.

Additional charges against Traverso in connection with the fatal hit-and-run are pending.

A memorial has been planned for Cohen. Click here for more information.

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