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Driver Held for Allegedly Killing Motorcyclist in Tampa-Area Hit-and-Run Crash

As Hollywood motorcycle accident attorneys, we were pleased to see that a driver accused of killing a motorcyclist and fleeing the scene is being held accountable. According to a Feb. 19 article in the St. Petersburg Times, Rodolfo Bautista Perez, 24, is accused of pulling out of a parking lot and into the path of motorcyclist Jake Delvalle, also 24. The crash threw Delvalle from his bike onto the pavement, where he was hit by a third motorist, 21-year-old Bonnie Banda. Delvalle died at the scene, but none of the other motorists involved were hurt, including a passenger in Perez’s car. Perez fled the scene but was later tracked down by police.

The crash happened in Plant City, when Perez, of Plant City, pulled out of a shopping center parking lot on U.S. 92. With him was a passenger, 23-year-old Rafael Bautista. Their car pulled directly into the path of Delvalle’s motorcycle, causing him to lock up the brakes but hit the car. The crash pushed him from the motorcycle, but Perez kept driving. Shortly after, Banda entered the scene and hit Delvalle as he lay on the ground. She is not criminally charged. However, Perez faces charges of leaving the scene of an accident involving death, and driving without a valid driver’s license. It wasn’t reported why he had no valid driver’s license. He is being held in Hillsborough County Jail on a bond of $200,000.

As a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident lawyer, I’m pleased that police were able to find Perez so quickly. Being involved in a crash at all is bad enough, but when someone flees the scene, it’s an added source of pain for victims. Judging solely by the description of the accident, Perez is likely to be at fault for causing it, which means more charges could be added to those he faces. That’s good news for Delvalle’s family — not only because Perez could face more time, but because assigning fault could help them in any lawsuit they file to recover damages for his death. A criminal case creates a good chance that Perez will personally answer for his irresponsible choices on the road. But a lawsuit can help the family deal with the effects of Delvalle’s death, including funeral costs and the loss of his income as well as their emotional losses.

At Cohn, Smith & Cohn, we have a special connection to motorcycle accident cases: my wife and I both ride. When you hire our firm, you’re not only hiring an experienced Coral Springs motorcycle crash attorney, but also a motorcyclist who understands the difficulties riders face on south Florida roads and in collecting insurance settlements. Unfortunately, insurance companies know all about the prejudice that some drivers have against motorcyclists, and they will exploit that prejudice if they believe they can use it to lower or eliminate their payout to an injured rider. We defend our clients vigorously against this kind of overreaching and make sure they get the best possible compensation for their medical bills, injuries and other damages.

If you or someone you love was hurt in a motorcycle crash caused by a driver’s negligence, Cohn, Smith & Cohn can help. To set up a free consultation, send us an email or call our main Pembroke Pines office at (954) 431-8100 today.

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