Eight Months After Ferrari Hit-and-Run, Driver Has Not Been Charged

Categories: Broward News

But LeVin leveraged his parents' bank account. Elford and Watkinson's -widows, cash-strapped and responsible for raising two and three children, respectively, filed a civil lawsuit against LeVin. The driver agreed to pay each family an undisclosed lump sum if they asked the court for a lowered sentence. The families agreed. In June 2011, appearing before McCarthy, LeVin chewed gum and declined to apologize in court.

The court gave him two years of house arrest followed by ten years of probation. LeVin did his time in an oceanfront condo. "The need for restitution does outweigh the need for prison," McCarthy told the Sun Sentinel at the time.

In March 2012, 5-year-old Yanelle Lucero was riding her tricycle near her home on NW 67th Street in Fort Lauderdale when she was struck by a white GMC van. Behind the wheel was 19-year-old Erik Garcia.

One of Garcia's friends riding shotgun got out of the van, picked up Lucero, and rushed the dying girl to her mother. Garcia took off on foot. He later called 911 to turn himself in.
The driver pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident. At the sentencing in April, Lucero's mother, Katherine Diaz, clutching a wooden box containing her daughter's ashes, asked the judge to give Garcia the maximum sentence of 30 years.

"He had the opportunity to make a right decision and stop, swerve, or do whatever possible to avoid hurting my baby," the mother told the court. "But he chose not to. He just didn't care to avoid this tragedy."

The court, however, handed -Garcia a 30-month sentence with credit for the 24 months he'd already been incarcerated, followed by deportation to his native Mexico.
But the highest-profile -- and ultimately most consequential -- instance of a motorist's fleeing the scene of a horrible accident happened in February 2010.

While piloting his bike over the Rickenbacker Causeway, Aaron Cohen, a 36-year-old married father of two, was run down. His riding partner was seriously injured.

Behind the wheel, Michele Traverso didn't even slow. Fresh off a night of drinking at Moe's in Coconut Grove, the 26-year-old sped home, where he hid his car beneath a tarp. At the time, Traverso's license was suspended due to a cocaine possession charge. Eighteen hours later, the driver turned himself in to police.

Traverso pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident involving death and leaving the scene of an accident involving serious injury. In January 2013, a Miami-Dade judge gave him less than a year in jail.

It was the startled reaction at the sentencing from a courtroom squeezed tight with Cohen's friends and fellow Miami bike scenesters that set the stage for the changes in the law.

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Arlene Wills Allen
Arlene Wills Allen

The day I arrived in Broward County, fifteen years ago, I was following right behind a hit and run. This is nothing new.

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