NEW BEDFORD — Bail was set at $25,000 cash on Wednesday for the driver, charged in the fatal hit-and-run on March 3 in Dartmouth, after a prosecutor revealed the accused sent text messages to California for someone "to come and get him."
If Natalie Vieira, 58, who has been living since July with his cousin in Westport, makes bail, he must surrender his passport, be on home confinement with GPS monitoring, and not drive, ruled Judge James McGovern in New Bedford District Court. The judge also issued a bail revocation warning, saying Vieira could be held without bail for up to 90 days if he is rearrested while out on bail. The case was continued until April 10.
Although Vieira’s legal first name is Natalie, he is transgender and identifies as a male and goes by the names of Nate or Marcos.
Vieira was arrested March 6 and ordered held without bail for a dangerousness hearing, charged with leaving the scene of personal injury and death, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and operating an unregistered vehicle, according to court documents. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Stasha Lynn Faria was killed in the crash about 7 p.m. March 3 in the area of 653 State Road, Dartmouth. She had been staying at the Moby Dick Motel, a short distance away from the accident scene.
Prosecutors on Wednesday dropped their request for a dangerousness hearing and proceeded with a bail hearing. Prosecutor Matt Sylvia, the DA's supervisor in New Bedford District Court, said it was an office decision.
The victim was struck and killed walking along State Road and the exact spot where she was struck is "unknown" and still being investigated by police, Sylvia said. The vehicle involved in the crash, a Chevrolet Uplander, was found in Mike's Auto Body, Fall River.
Vieira told police during questioning that he saw something pass in front of him while driving on State Road, hit it and thought it was a light pole, the prosecutor said. He said he panicked, did not stop and drove home.
Police found text messages Vieira sent to someone in California, asking the person "to come and get him," creating "a substantial flight risk," Sylvia said.
Defense attorney Don Crotty said his client has no criminal record and was born in Portugal and became a U.S. citizen in 1984. He said Vieira has been transitioning to a man for the last five years.
Crotty said his client works 35 hours a week as a chef at UMass Dartmouth, making $11.75 an hour. John Hoey, a UMass Dartmouth spokesman, said Vieira worked for the school's food service provider, Chartwells, and was not an employee of the university. Vieira is no longer employed by Chartwells, according to Hoey.
Friends of Stasha Lynn Faria attended the bail hearing and later spoke with a prosecutor. They subsequently declined to speak with the media.
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