Driver pleads guilty to Rickenbacker cyclist hit-and-run
MIAMI (WSVN) -- The driver accused of striking and killing a cyclist on the Rickenbacker Causeway in January 2010 pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter Tuesday morning.
According to Miami-Dade Police, Carlos Bertonatti struck Christopher Le Canne while he was riding his bike on the Rickenbacker Causeway, in January 2010. Police said Le Canne's crushed bike was dragged for blocks before Bertonatti was stopped by police. Le Canne was later taken to a hospital, where doctors would pronounce him dead.
Bertonatti pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter and apologized to the victim's family in court. "I'm really, really sorry," said Bertonatti. "I never meant to hurt anyone. I never meant to hurt Christopher, and I certainly never meant to leave him on the side of the road. That is not who I am. That is not who I was raised to be."
He said he wanted to speak to the family since the accident but was instructed by lawyers not to do so. He also added that he has a brother close to the victim's age and empathizes with the family's loss.
Bertonatti said, "There are still some details that remain uncertain and there are some unanswered questions that I may never have answers for, but the one thing I know for sure is that I never meant to hurt anybody. I never meant to hurt Christopher and leave him on the side of the road."
However the victim's father, Paul Le Canne said, "I will never forgive Mr. Bertonatti for this criminal act."
The victim's brother, Nicolas Le Canne, said he has no hate for Bertonatti. "He died like a dog. I personally don't have any hate for the person that did that, certainly cannot accept the responsible behavior," said Nicolas.
Facing up to 37 years in prison, Bertonatti was unable to reach a plea deal with prosecutors. His defense attorney said Bertonatti had been waiting for this day to speak out. "Carlos has been wanting for the time to accept responsibility for this and as a result of the way our system works, we haven't let him," said defense attorney Robert Pertierra. "But now he has, and I think he feels quite comfortable with the fact that he's facing up to his responsibility here."
Bertonatti pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter with failure to render aide, two counts of resisting arrest without violence and fleeing and alluding a police officer with lights and sirens.
According to the defense attorney, Bertonatti could face anywhere from 11 to 37 years in prison.
Bertonatti's sentencing has been scheduled for May 2.
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