Broward County

One New Year’s hit-and-run victim dead, one near death. One suspect at large, one in jail

Philip Varsam sits in Broward County Jail after his arrest for leaving the scene of an accident involving serious injury
Philip Varsam sits in Broward County Jail after his arrest for leaving the scene of an accident involving serious injury

The driver from the first Broward County New Year’s Day hit-and-run homicide remains at large. Fort Lauderdale police believe they’ve arrested the driver in the second Jan. 1 hit-and-run that’s on the verge of being a homicide.

As of right now, 28-year-old Delray Beach resident Philip Varsam sits in Broward County Jail charged with leaving the scene of an accident with serious injury. The bond court set Varsam’s bond at $30,000. But charges of exponentially greater heft and a much more onerous bond (if any granted at all) await Varsam if 19-year-old victim Alkiva Douglas’ condition worsens.

Fort Lauderdale police say Douglas, 19, “remains in extreme critical condition” at Broward Health North after being struck in the 6700 block of Northwest Ninth Avenue, also called South Powerline Road. The Sun Sentinel reports that Douglas was described as being brain dead during Varsam’s bond hearing on Tuesday.

According to Fort Lauderdale police, a car identified by a witness as a white 2015 Lexus sedan struck Douglas’ bicycle from behind as Douglas rode south on Ninth Avenue. The car didn’t stop.

Any witnesses to the crash are asked to call traffic homicide investigator Jill Hirsch at 954-828-5753.

Almost exactly 11 hours before that 8:41 p.m. hit-and-run crash, 50-year-old Christopher Mohr of Weston was hit from behind while in the bike lane on State Road 84 about a mile east of Indian Trace. The Broward Sheriff’s Office says it’s looking for an older model white car with damage to the front passenger side and windshield.

Anyone with information is asked to contact BSO at 954-321-4842 or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477 or via the website.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

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