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Palm Beach woman crashes into cyclist, held on $100,000 bond

A judge on Thursday ordered a 65-year-old Palm Beach woman, accused of critically injuring a bike rider on Wednesday, to be held in lieu of $100,000 bond and to surrender her passport.

Ikuyo Ohigashi appeared in front of Circuit Court Judge Ted Booras after she was arrested on Wednesday on charges of DUI property damage and DUI serious bodily injury to another.

Assistant State Attorney Laura Laurie told Booras that Ohigashi is a flight risk after she stated she was planning on traveling to Japan in the near future for a vacation. Laurie also said that Ohigashi was involved in three crashes, and therefore is "a danger to the community, by all means."

Ohigashi's attorney, Nellie King, argued that the vacation was planned in November and was not in response to any criminal action.

Booras also ordered that if Ohigashi posts bond, that she be released on supervision with random drug testing, as she admitted at the scene of the accident in suburban Lake Worth that she took narcotics earlier in the day.

Ohigashi, was traveling west on Lake Worth Road, around 12:18 p.m. on Wednesday, when she struck Pertti Viljo Savela, 65, who was riding his bicycle in the bicycle lane near Corrigan Court, a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office probable cause affidavit says.

Savela, a Finnish national with a suburban Lake Worth address, was thrown from his bike and hit his head on Ohigashi's windshield, shattering the glass. He suffered a brain injury, multiple rib fractures, a bruised lung, and a large laceration on his head. He was flown by Trauma Hawk to Delray Medical Center.

At the scene of the wreck, Sheriff's Office deputies said Ohigashi appeared sluggish and forgetful, the affidavit says.

Ohigashi told deputies she saw Savela in the bicycle lane and thought he "wobbled over" into her vehicle lane. She told another deputy that she took a 750 mg Vicodin pill hours before.

By Alexandra Seltzer, The Palm Beach Post

If you have been hurt in a car accident, do not accept any settlement that is offered by an insurance company without first reviewing it with a skilled and experienced attorney who can advise you more thoroughly about your legal rights and options. Contact the Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers of Salpeter Gitkin, LLP today for more information.

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