A Broward judge on Tuesday rejected a Fort Lauderdale man's request to reduce his $1 million bond on an Oakland Park hit-and-run case.
Scott Roman, 47, is a flight risk with the means and expressed desire to leave the country, Broward Circuit Judge Barbara McCarthy said while turning down Roman's request. Roman has been held since his Aug. 31 arrest on charges of leaving the scene of a fatal accident and tampering with evidence.
Police believe Roman was behind the wheel of his 2014 BMW on May 11 when he crashed into a motor scooter driven by Joseph Deverson, 22, who lingered brain dead for four days before dying of his injuries.
After the accident, according to testimony Monday and Tuesday, Roman, a real estate agent with a Fort Lauderdale oceanfront condo valued at $1.5 million, took a 9-day trip to Cambodia. He planned a trip to Italy this month.
McCarthy listened to recorded calls Roman made to his husband from the Broward Main Jail. In one of those calls, Roman wept and said he should never have come back from Cambodia.
"Mr. Roman is a flight risk," McCarthy said, adding that he is "a danger to the community."
Roman did not respond to the judge's comments.
Among those attending the hearing were members of the victim's family.
Deverson's stepmother, Dawn Deverson, read a letter crafted by family members urging McCarthy to keep Roman in jail as he awaits trial.
"Scott Roman left our Joe on the side of the road to die," she said. "He never slowed down. …The simple fact that his own family is not willing to trust him to post the collateral makes us feel the court should not trust him either."
Roman's husband did not attend the proceeding; some witnesses disputed Roman's claim that his husband's deteriorating health included signs of the onset of dementia, making it necessary for him to be at home.
Defense lawyer William Direnzo said Roman's presence in South Florida when he could have stayed in Cambodia was proof that he did not intend to flee.
"Mr. Roman was already out of the country," he said. "If he didn't want to come back, he wouldn't have come back."
According to police, Roman told them he was out drinking May 11 and was so intoxicated when he left Georgie's Alibi in Wilton Manors that he had a stranger drive him home. Surveillance footage of the parking lot outside the bar showed Roman getting into his car alone, a police witness testified.
After he arrived home, he allegedly tried to have his car cleaned and repaired, which led to the tampering charge.
If convicted, Roman faces a maximum of 30 years in prison for leaving the accident scene and five years on the tampering charge.
Prosecutors did not charge him with DUI manslaughter because Roman was identified as a suspect days after the crash and there would be no way to prove Roman was intoxicated at the time. DUI manslaughter would carry a maximum 15-year sentence.
Roman's next court date is scheduled for Dec. 4.