Alleged Hit & Run Musician Out on Bail

Carlos Bertonatti free, expresses sorrow for "awful tragedy"

The up and coming Miami musician who was arrested for an allegedly drunken hit and run accident that left a cyclist dead on the Rickenbacker Causeway was released on bail.

Carlos Bertonatti, 28, posted the $100,000 bond Tuesday, after he was charged with vehicular homicide, DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident after the Sunday morning accident that killed cyclist Christopher Lecanne.

Bertonatti, an on-the-rise musician originally from Venezuela, was driving his silver Volkswagen Jetta  on the Rickenbacker Causeway early Sunday morning when he hit the 44-year-old Lecanne, who was riding his bike in the bike lane, according to police.

Rather than stop, Bertonatti kept driving, with Lecanne's bike still under his car for nearly three miles, police said. After a short chase, cops caught up to Bertonatti, who was arrested at the scene.

Horrific photos from the scene showed the Jetta with significant damage. A police report noted that the car made a "loud grating noise" as it dragged the bike. The arresting officer smelled alcohol on Bertonatti's breath, and Bertonatti admitted he'd had a few drinks, according to the report.

After allegedly failing a field sobriety test, Bertonatti was taken to the Key Biscayne Fire Department, where officers requested to take a blood sample. Bertonatti refused, and officers had to strap him down and "forcibly" draw blood.

When officers told Bertonatti that he'd struck and killed the cyclist, he didn't believe them, police said.

"He's not dead, you're lying to mecops do that stuff all the time, I don't believe you," Bertonatti said, according to the police report.

Lecanne was taken to Ryder Trauma Center, where he was pronounced dead. It reportedly took as much as 15 minutes for Fire-Rescue to arrive at the scene, a issue that has angered Miami-Dade Commissioner Carlos Gimenez. Gimenez pointed out that the nearest station to the accident scene was closed due to budget cuts, unacceptable in his mind.

"If you're gonna make some service cuts, you better make sure that you have cut everything possible before you touch the units in what I call the street, out serving the public," Gimenez said. Gimenez plans on discussing the service cuts at today's commission meeting.

Bertonatti, meanwhile, has gone from having a recording contract with Sony to facing several years behind bars. His attorney, Susy Ribero-Ayala, released a statement on his behalf.

"Words cannot begin to describe the awful tragedy that occurred Sunday morning. Lives were changed forever and two families are grieving and going through an extremely difficult time," the statement read. "Carlos' wish at this time is for everyone's thoughts and prayers to be with the victim and his family. He is profusely saddened and shocked with the horrific events and his hopes are that we all reach out to help the victim's family at this time. Carlos and his entire family extend their deepest condolences and pray that God accompany both families at such a devastating time."

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