Philip Varsam of Delray Beach, Florida surrendered to police on Tuesday to face charges for an alleged hit-and-run crash that severely injured cyclist Alkiva Douglas of Fort Lauderdale. The crash reportedly occurred on New Year’s night and left Douglas with severe brain damage.
Varsam, 28, was arrested on suspicion of failing to remain at the scene of an accident involving a serious injury. He was transferred from Delray Beach to Broward Main Jail for a brief court appearance on Tuesday. His bond was set at $30,000 by Broward County Judge Michael Davis. The judge also ordered Varsam to surrender his passport.
According to Broward Sheriff’s Office, the accident occurred at 9 p.m. on Sunday along the 6700 block of NW Ninth Avenue. Douglas, 19, was reportedly pedaling south when he was hit from the back by a car. A witness purportedly saw a white 2015 Lexus hit the cyclist and drive away from the scene of the crash.
Police have not provided details on how the witness’ description of the car led investigators to Varsam in Delray Beach. It’s also unclear if Varsam negotiated his surrender with police or if he surrendered of his own accord.
Broward court records show that Varsam works as a server at an Italian restaurant and does not have a criminal record. Douglas worked at a gas station car wash and was sentenced to three years probation in November 2016 on grand theft and forgery charges.
A similar hit-and-run incident was reported on the same day in Weston. Christopher Mohr was fatally struck in a hit-and-run crash in the early hours of New Year’s Day. Investigators are still searching for the driver and urge anyone with information to come forward.
According to Broward Sheriff’s Office, Mohr, 50, was riding his bicycle on a bike lane on State Road 84 at around 7:30 a.m. when he was struck from behind by a driver who did not stop. He was rushed to Broward Health Center where died from his injuries.
The vehicle that hit Mohr is believed to be a white and of an unknown but older make. Investigators are looking for a a vehicle matching that description with a damage on the passenger-side headlight and windshield. Sources report that a car fitting the description was found at a shopping center in Weston on Monday, but police said it’s too soon to tell whether it was the one involved in the crash.
Source: 1.3.17 Varsam Hit-and-Run.pdf