Hit-and-run suspect faces mother of victim killed in New Year's Day crash
Judge rules that Philip Varsam must unlock iPhone
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A man charged in a fatal hit-and-run in Fort Lauderdale was back in court on Friday, where he faced the victim's emotional mother.
Valda Douglas-James got the first chance to come face to face with the man who is accused of crashing into her son's bicycle on New Year's Day.
Shackled and handcuffed, Philip Varsam, 28, sat in court as his attorney and prosecutors argued over whether the password to his iPhone should be released.
Prosecutors wanted the passcode to see if there’s any evidence in it from the hit-and-run crash.
The judge ruled that Varsam will have to unlock the phone.
Alkiva Douglas' family sat in the courtroom, wearing custom-made T-shirts to honor the 19-year-old man who died in the crash.
Police said Douglas was riding his bicycle home from work when he was struck by Varsam's 2015 Lexus.
Investigators said Varsam never stopped to help, but kept on driving.
"I hope I get justice for him because he'll never, ever come back," Douglas-James said. "Sometimes I look at the phone and I want to call him. I called him that night about 10 times and he didn't pick up. I didn't know he was gone."
Varsam is charged with DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of a crash resulting in death.
Alkiva's funeral is scheduled for Sunday.
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